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E-cigarettes have pros, cons

Consumer Reports calls for more health studies

As electronic cigarettes increase in sales and popularity, Consumer Reports  is calling for  more in-depth health studies on the products.

Chris Mikovits was a cigarette smoker for 25 years, but two years ago, he was finally able to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes. Now he uses electronic or e-cigarettes.

"I've tried everything there was out there to quit," he said. "With this, it was more like switching. I didn't have to completely knock out the habits and the rituals I had."

E-cigarettes look and feel like traditional smokes. They are battery-operated, delivering vaporized nicotine with the the tar, smoke and tobacco found in regular cigarettes.

Some studies suggest e-cigs might be a last resort for smokers who've tried and failed repeatedly to quit, according to Consumer Reports.

A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control found that methods like the nicotine patch and gum are not as effective as first thought.

However, e-cigarettes sold in stores and primarily online, are not approved by the FDA, raising safety concerns.

"E-cigarettes vary widely, and it's unclear exactly which chemicals, other than nicotine, are in those devices,"  said Consumer Reports' Jamie Kopf. "And, nicotine itself is extremely addicitive and can cause harm, too."

Consumer Reports called for more in-depth health studies and federal oversight.

"But for smokers who are having trouble quitting, e-cigarettes just may be the lesser of two evils," Kopf said.

Because the devices are readily available online, and come in enticing flavors like cherry and pina colada, critics have raised concerns about minors using the products.