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May 05, 2017 05:53 AM EDT

E-cigarettes have soared to popularity with the promise of helping smokers stop smoking or providing a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, chest physicians are still divided on what advantages and disadvantages come with the use of the fairly new device.

The device was developed in the early 2000s. Even then, experts have disagreed about their role in smoking cessation and research has been inconclusive.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are described as battery-operated devices that are designed to provide nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users. It uses vapor instead of smoke.

These devices come in various designs. Some resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes while more recent designs come in bigger pen-like tanks.

In a Yale-led study, Stephen Baldassarri, M.D., clinical fellow in medicine at the institution, and his co-authors surveyed members of the American College of Chest Physicians. The survey asked about their experiences with e-cigarette users and their opinion about the products.

They had nearly 1,000 respondents and majority (88 percent) admitted that their patients had inquired about e-cigarettes. A third of the survey participants said that at least some of their patients use the products.

Moreover, more respondents (41 percent) disagreed with the idea that patients can improve their health by switching from tobacco smoking to using e-cigarettes. However, physicians were still divided on whether the device does promote smoking cessation.

This indicates a need for more research on what the risks and benefits are of using e-cigarettes. Further studies can lead to physicians making appropriate recommendations for patients who smoke.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has postponed the enforcement of a rule that imposed strict oversight over e-cigarettes and cigars. The deadline has been set to May 10 or later.

With this, cigar manufacturers can delay the submission of their plans for putting addictiveness warnings on their products. The information on what ingredients are contained in these products will not have to be submitted beginning Aug. 8.

Follows e-cigarette, lung cancer, smoking, yale, study, Smoking Cessation Aid, medicine, biology
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