Scientific Committees

Final Opinion on electronic cigarettes

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Final Opinion on electronic cigarettes

The European Commission and its Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) publish the final Opinion on electronic cigarettes.

 final Opinion

Following a request from the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) provided a Final Opinion on electronic cigarettes.

For users of e-cigarettes, the SCHEER has concluded that there is moderate weight of evidence for risks of local irritative damage to the respiratory tract and moderate, but a growing level of evidence from human data suggesting that electronic cigarettes have harmful health effects, especially but not limited to the cardiovascular system.

More so, the SCHEER has concluded that there is weak to moderate weight of evidence for risks of carcinogenicity of the respiratory tract due to long-term, cumulative exposure to nitrosamines and due to exposure to acetaldehyde and formaldehyde and that weight of evidence for risk of poisoning and injuries due to burns and explosion is strong.

The SCHEER has also concluded that there is weak to moderate weight of evidence for several risks related to second-hand exposure. Overall, there is moderate evidence that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking for young people and strong evidence that flavours have a relevant contribution for attractiveness of use of electronic cigarette and initiation. On the other hand, there is weak evidence for the support of electronic cigarettes' effectiveness in helping smokers to quit while the evidence on smoking reduction is assessed as weak to moderate.

The Commission has tasked the SCHEER to study the health effects of e-cigarette use, and their role in encouraging people to start or quit smoking to understand better the health effects and the public health dimension of electronic cigarettes.

A document on Results of the public consultation is being finalised.