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  • Millions of Americans vape, but little is known about the comprehensive health effects of e-cigarettes.
  • The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine aimed to address that dearth of knowledge with a new report on e-cigs.
  • In line with the Academies’ previous approach to other drugs, the report pools its findings into categories based on how much evidence there is to draw a conclusion.
  • Two key findings from the report suggest that while vaping may help adults quit smoking conventional cigarettes, the practice may also encourage young people to start.

It’s been almost a decade since the first vape pen hit store shelves. The whiteboard marker-sized devices, which vaporized liquid nicotine rather than burning tobacco and creating tar, were designed as a healthier alternative to cancer-causing conventional cigarettes.

Since then, thousands of models of vape pens have been made available, but a question among public health researchers continued to linger: Do these devices help smokers quit or glorify a potentially unhealthy habit?

The answer, according to a large new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is a little bit of both.

While vaping may help adults quit conventional cigarettes, the practice may also encourage young people to start, the authors of the report found. Still, although vaping comes with health risks, it is likely to be far less harmful overall than smoking conventional cigarettes.

”E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” David Eaton, the chair of the committee that wrote the report and the dean and vice provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle, said in a statement.

Eaton said that in certain circumstances — such as when teens use them and become addicted to nicotine — e-cigarettes’ “adverse effects clearly warrant concern.” But in other cases — like when adults turn to e-cigs to quit Read More Here