Some e-cigarette companies advertise the sticks as a healthy alternative to tobacco-infused cigarettes. E-Lites had an advertising campaign with the tagline "the satisfying smoking alternative," while Blu Cigs advertised with a "Why Quit? Switch to Blu" poster, stating that "Blu is the smart choice for smokers wanting a change. Take back your freedom."
However, the BioMed report said that of the teenagers who had tried e-cigarettes, more had never previously smoked than were ex-smokers of conventional cigarettes.
The jury is out on whether e-cigarettes are genuinely a safer alternative to conventional smoking.
The Public Library of Science, a non-profit U.S. organization, has published an article based on researchers from various universities that states that the vapors produced from e-cigarettes could cause damage to the lungs, and could alter people's immune response to infections, based on tests on mice.
Researchers from University of Rochester Medical Center backed up this claim, suggesting that the vapors produced could "induce toxicity, oxidative stress and inflammatory response" within the lungs.
Another report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggested that e-cigarettes contained "hidden formaldehyde," which is classed as a human carcinogen that has been linked to cancer.
Overall, all these studies suggested that the electronic, non-tobacco form of cigarettes should not be used as a substitute to conventional smoking.
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