E-cigarettes: Hazardous or helpful?

Their efficacy as a tool for quitting regular cigarettes and their long-term safety remain concerning.

Even if you never touch cigarettes, you probably know someone who does (or did) smoke. Nearly half of Americans smoked in the mid-1960s, compared with just 14% today. Still, cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States, and about one-third of those are due to heart disease.

What about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), the latest smoking trend? These battery-operated devices heat up a liquid, creating a vapor that users inhale and exhale, a practice known as "vaping." Although e-cigarettes were initially targeted to young people, more recent ad campaigns feature middle-aged, long-time smokers who have switched to vaping. Is vaping safer than smoking, especially from a cardiovascular perspective? And can these products help people quit regular cigarettes?

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