The biggest reason why electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery systems) are so popular is because of their reputation as a healthy alternative to traditional tobacco. Amongst smokers, a nicotine-free e-cigarette is seen as a compromise between smoking regular tobacco and not smoking at all. However, there is not enough information available of the long-term health effects, for example, risks for cancer, that the e-cigarettes can have on people. This is due to the fact that it is very difficult to prove that a substance in itself causes cancer.1 Thus, it can be said for sure that e-cigarettes are more harmful to health than not smoking at all.

What’s on this page?

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which can sometimes contain nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. Most of these devices consist of a cartridge, heater, battery and mouthpiece that is used for inhaling the aerosol. It differs from regular tobacco as it doesn’t release smoke or carbon dioxide.2

Are e-cigarettes part of NRT?

E-cigarettes can be used as a nicotine replacement therapy in smoking cessation, however, it is not recommended as they are not FDA approved smoking cessation aid. In some instances, e-cigs can help in getting rid of the habit of smoking and provide aid after the first few days of quitting but the possible drawback is that the smoker replaces smoking with vaping and thus, will not end up quitting.

Can e-vaporisers really help me quit smoking?

Until today, the available research shows there is limited evidence that e-cigs would be beneficial in quitting smoking. There are other proven, safe, and effective methods available, such as NRT. One way to start is to talk with your GP or a counsellor to figure out the best strategies for you3 or read more about stop smoking.

Are e-cigs better for health than regular tobacco?

There are no reliable studies done on the long-term health effects of e-cigs because they have only been available for a while. Despite the fact that e-cigarettes might contain fewer chemicals than regular tobacco, they can still contain heavy metals, flavourings that cause lung diseases and other cancer-causing chemicals. These ingredients become carcinogenic when they are exposed to heat, such as when vaping. Also, these harmful compounds still exist in nicotine-free electronic cigarettes.

The possible negative effects of e-cigs can have a bigger impact on youth and pregnant women compared to others. However, there are no statistics available on the number of people, especially the youth, who start vaping because of its healthier image. Also, there is no information on the dangers of passive smoking, when it comes to vaping, however, some say it is as dangerous as regular passive smoking.

These are amongst the reasons why some have applied restrictions and even ban for the use of e-cigs. Thus, they are definitely not completely harmless for health.

Side effects of electronic cigarettes

The immediate side effects that can derive from the use of electronic cigarettes are usually caused by an overdose of nicotine. This can happen easily when vaping compared to smoking tobacco. The reason why overdose is easy to achieve while vaping is because the e-cigarette doesn’t run out like a normal cigarette would do. It is rarely fatal but can cause any of the following:

  • dizziness
  • muscle pain
  • increased sweating
  • stomach pains
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased salivation
  • high blood pressure
  • tachycardia

Herbal cigarettes

Another option is to replace regular tobacco with herbal cigarettes. They consist of different mixes or herbs that can aid in smoking cessation because they help in controlling the physical addiction. They don’t contain nicotine but they allow the user to keep the old habit of smoking,

However, these herbal cigarettes are not any healthier option for smoking and they shouldn’t be used as a permanent replacement for regular cigarettes. They produce tar and other combustions that will end up in the lungs when inhaling.

If you have smoked for years and then decide to start a smoke-free life you should aim to change your rituals and habits so that you could live without smoking anything.

How much do e-cigs cost?

The prices for starter packs vary between 25 and 70 pounds. The further costs depend on the amount of consumption and also how well the product is taken care of in the long run. In either case, it will be cheaper than regular tobacco. They can also easily be ordered from online.


  1. E-cigarettes vs Smoking – Forbes
  2. E-cigarettes – National Institute of Drug Abuse
  3. What do we know – SmokeFree