In a Haze About e-Cigarettes? 5 Things to Know

John Watson


July 31, 2018

Compared With Cigarettes, Is Vaping the Lesser of Two Evils?


Acknowledging that the existing, short-term evidence shows e-cigarettes to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the American Cancer Society has recommended that clinicians support patients in shifting to these devices if they will not use US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved cessation aids.[28]

But that is offset by a recent statistical analysis using optimistic assumptions about their hazards relative to cigarette smoking, which estimated that on average, use of these products by teens would lead to 1.5 million years of life lost.[29]

With predictions such as these, the medical community finds itself in a Catch-22 that could become a full-blown public health crisis. Unless the trends of adolescent vaping change significantly in the coming years, there may be a scenario where the once futuristic-seeming devices meant to curb smoking return us to the bad old days of tobacco-induced death and disease.


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