Although some argue that e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking or have less harmful consequences than traditional cigarettes, a new study found that many e-cigarette users also use regular cigarettes, undermining the argument that e-cigs are a smoking cessation tool. The study also found that respiratory symptoms were most common among people who used both regular cigarettes and e-cigs.
Researchers in Sweden looked at more than 30,000 adults ranging in age from 20 to 75 years old. Among e-cig users, nearly two-thirds were current smokers, 18.3% were non-cigarette smokers and 15% were former smokers.
Respiratory symptoms were most common among those who used both e-cigs and tobacco cigarettes and former smokers who didn’t use e-cigs, according to the study, published in JAMA Network Open. Those symptoms included wheezing, long-standing cough and difficulty bringing up phlegm during coughs.
“The medical community needs to be careful when recommending e-cigarettes to patients as a smoking cessation method or as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, especially as their efficacy as a smoking cessation method is still ambiguous,” the researchers wrote. “Our study seems to indicate that the present use of e-cigarettes does not adequately serve as a smoking cessation tool.”