E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine through inhaled vapour. They don’t contain tobacco so you aren’t exposed to tar or carbon monoxide which are the main toxins found in cigarettes.
Using an e-cigarette is not completely risk free – they do contain some of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels – so carry a small fraction of the risk of smoking.
The current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking (according to reports carried out in 2018 by Public Health England and 2016 by The Royal College of Physicians).
As e-cigarettes are fairly new there are still some things we don’t know about them, but current evidence indicates they are much less risky than smoking.
If using one helps you to give up smoking, it is less harmful than continuing to smoke. It is also less harmful for others as they don’t expose others to the effects associated to secondhand smoke.
These devices work well on their own or you can use them alongside NRT and support from a trained stop smoking adviser.