The Evolving Landscape of e-Cigarettes: A Systematic Review of Recent Evidence
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© 2020 American College of Chest Physicians
Smoking continues to be a burden to economies and health-care systems across the world. One proposed solution to the problem has been e-cigarettes; however, because they are a relatively new product in the market, little is known about their potential health impacts. Furthermore, e-cigarettes continue to evolve at a rapid rate, making it necessary to regularly review and summarize available studies. Although e-cigarettes are marketed as a smoking cessation tool by some manufacturers, the reality is that many nonsmokers, including youth, are using them. This review focuses on two major demographic groups (smokers and nonsmokers) and evaluates the most recent data (early 2017 to mid 2019) regarding the potential health effects of e-cigarettes. We assessed peer-reviewed studies on the health impacts of e-cigarettes, with a particular focus on common questions asked by policy makers, clinicians, and scientists: (1) What are the effects of e-cigarettes compared with air/not smoking?; (2) Is there any direct evidence of harm or benefit to humans?; (3) Is there a risk from secondhand exposure?; (4) What are the risks and/or benefits of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco cigarette use?; (5) Are there risks or benefits to specific populations (eg, people with COPD or asthma, pregnant women [and their offspring])?; (6) What are the effects of flavoring chemicals?; (7) What are the effects of including nicotine in e-liquids?; (8) How often is nicotine concentration labeling incorrect?; and (9) What are the risks when e-cigarettes explode?
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