This is an article from the NHS, the National Health Service of England
In recent years e-cigarettes have become a very popular smoking cessation aid in the U.K. Also known as vapes or e-cigarettes, they are far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking.
What are e-cigarettes and how do they work?
An e-cigarette is a device that allows you to breathe nicotine in a vapor instead of smoke.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and produce neither tar nor carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
They work by heating a liquid that normally contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings.
The use of an e-cigarette is called vaping.
What types of e-cigarettes are there?
There is a wide range of models:
Cigalikes look similar to tobacco cigarettes and can be used as disposable or rechargeable cigarettes.
Vaporizing pens have the shape of a ballpoint pen or small tube, with a tank for storing E-liquid, replaceable coils and rechargeable batteries.
Pod systems are compact rechargeable devices, often in the form of a USB stick or pebble, with e-liquid capsules.
Modules come in various shapes and sizes, but are generally the largest e-cigarette machines, with a refillable tank, longer lasting rechargeable batteries and variable output.
How do I choose the right e-cigarette for me?
A rechargeable e-cigarette with a refillable tank releases nicotine more effectively and faster than a disposable model and will probably give you a better chance of stopping smoking.
If you smoke more lightly, you could try a cigar, ballpoint pen or tube system.
If you smoke heavily, it is advisable to use a Vape pen, pod system or mod.
It is also important to choose the right strength of E-liquid to meet your needs.
A specialized vapeshop can help you find the right device and the right fluid.
You can get advice from a specialised vapeshop or your local smoking cessation service.
Will an e-cigarette help me quit smoking?
Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette and there is growing evidence that they can be effective.
The use of an e-cigarette can help you control your craving for nicotine and to get the most out of it, you should use it as often as necessary and with the correct amount of nicotine in your e-cigarette.
A large clinical study published in the UK in 2019 found that people who quit smoking with e-cigarettes, when combined with face-to-face expert support, are twice as successful as people who use other nicotine replacement products such as patches or chewing gum.
You will not get the full benefit of vaping unless you stop smoking completely, you can get advice from a specialist vapeshop or your local smoking cessation service.
If you get expert help from your local anti-smoking service, you have the best chance of stopping smoking for good.
Find your local smoking cessation service
How safe are e-cigarettes?
In the United Kingdom, e-cigarettes are strictly regulated in terms of safety and quality.
They are not completely risk-free, but they carry a small part of the risk of cigarettes.
E-Cigarettes produce neither tar nor carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapor contain some potentially harmful chemicals that are also present in cigarette smoke, but in much smaller amounts.
For more information about e-cigarette safety, please visit the NHS Smokefree website
What about the risks of nicotine?
Although nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
Are e-cigarettes safe during pregnancy?
The safety of e-cigarettes in pregnancy has been little researched, but they are likely to be much less harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby than cigarettes.
If you are pregnant, licensed NRT products such as patches and gum are the recommended option to help you stop smoking.
However, if you find using an e-cigarette helpful in stopping smoking and staying smoke-free, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.
Are they a fire hazard?
There have been cases where e-cigarettes have exploded or caught fire.
As with all rechargeable electrical equipment, the correct charger should be used and the unit should not be left unattended or charged overnight.
Reporting a safety problem with e-cigarettes
If you suspect that you have experienced an adverse health effect from the use of your e-cigarette, or if you wish to report a product defect, report it using the yellow card scheme.
Is e-cigarette vapor harmful to others?
There is no evidence yet that the fumes harm other people in your environment.
This is in contrast to passive smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
Can I get an e-cigarette from my family doctor?
E-cigarettes are not currently available on prescription from the NHS, so you cannot get any from them.