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Food & Health

Do e-cigarettes help or harm? Report says not clear yet

A man uses a Philip Morris iQOS e-cigarette in Tokyo, Japan, in this May 12, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
WASHINGTON: A new report concludes that electronic cigarettes could be a boon to public health or a major liability — it all depends on whether they help Americans quit smoking or encourage more young people to try traditional cigarettes.
The report issued Tuesday wrestles with the potential benefits and harms of the vapor-emitting devices. But those effects may not be known for decades because of how slowly illnesses caused by smoking emerge.
The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analyzed more than 800 studies of e-cigarettes but underscores the lingering questions about the devices. It remains unclear if they help smokers quit cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration gained authority to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016, but has delayed several key regulations on the industry.

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