Chris Bullen is professor and director The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) School of Population Health The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are novel devices that simulate aspects of cigarette smoking and deliver nicotine to users. Evidence for their efficacy in smoking cessation, based on several randomised controlled trials of older devices, suggests a modest effect. They appear to be far less harmful than tobacco smoking, but the health effects of long-term use are unknown. Possible adverse population effects of widespread e-cigarette use, such as renormalising smoking beh