J Korean Med Assoc.  2020 Feb;63(2):105-111. 10.5124/jkma.2020.63.2.105.

E-cigarette from the point of view of harm reduction

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Dankook University School of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. drloved@dankook.ac.kr


One person dies every six seconds from a smoking-related disease and this problem is likely to worsen. While many people try to quit smoking on their own or with using medicinal products, many of them fail. There is an ongoing debate within the public health community about e-cigarettes on whether they have a potential role in smoking cessation, whether their use can reduce harm for individual users, whether the widespread use of these devices has the potential to reduce or increase population-level harm, and how best to regulate e-cigarette use to minimize both individual and population-level harm. Although the long-term effects of e-cigarette use among smokers and non-smokers are not known, nicotine aerosol produced from a solution, rather than from burning tobacco, releases fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke does. Some experts advocate wider availability and softer regulations regarding e-cigarette use and perceive them as having the potential to help smokers quit or switch to a harm-reducing means of consuming nicotine. Based on scientific evidence on e-cigarettes, this article explores its pros and cons to public health in order to guide practice, policy, and regulation through reviews of debate articles. "˜Quit or die' is no longer the only option for those who cannot quit. Safer nicotine products offer another way. There is substantial international and independent evidence that these products are safer than cigarettes.


Tobacco; Harm reduction; Electronic nicotine delivery systems

MeSH Terms

Electronic Cigarettes*
Harm Reduction*
Public Health
Smoking Cessation
Social Control, Formal
Tobacco Products


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