This Morning’s resident health expert Dr Chris Steele demonstrated Intellicig electronic cigarettes on a recent episode of the ITV1 daytime show.
Dr Chris was speaking on the eve of National No Smoking Day and, when asked about the electronic cigarettes by hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, he described them as being "brilliant".
The electronic cigarettes are brilliant. With an electronic cigarette you do satisfy the habit of hand-to-mouth, and you can't underestimate that. When you smoke a cigarette, it’s around 10 times to your mouth, 20 cigarettes a day, so 200 times a day you have this repetitive action, associated with being on the telephone, after food or with a drink. And in the tobacco in the cigarette you've got the chemicals.
Tar, carbon monoxide and all the other nasty chemicals cause lung damage and disease. With the electronic cigarettes, it looks like a cigarette and most of them have a glowing end so it really does look like one. All you are doing is actually inhaling nicotine from a little cartridge inside, which is vapourised to give you water vapour. You take the nicotine in so you are getting nicotine, at a low dose, causing no harm, and you get the effect of smoke being blown out and a sensation in your throat as if you are smoking.
Asked whether nicotine itself could be harmless, he said:
Nicotine is addictive but, at the dose taken, is harmless.
People have been using nicotine gum and nicotine patches for years and years, with no apparent danger whatsoever.
While demonstrating the Intellicig, Dr Chris highlighted the distinction between e-cigarettes with a rigorous scientific background and those imported directly from overseas where there is less certainty about the contents of the products.
There are so many products out there that a committee within the Department of Health is looking at this very carefully now and they are considering severely regulating the products out there. There are two electronic cigarettes out there that have got very strong analytical reports, guaranteed purity and pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing, and they look great. But a lot of others are coming in from China and we don’t know what’s in there. When regulation comes in, we’re going to feel happy with it.