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Pulmonary Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 4894352, 9 pages
Review Article

Electronic Cigarettes for Curbing the Tobacco-Induced Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases: Evidence Revisited with Emphasis on Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa

1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé 1, Yaoundé, Cameroon
2Sickle Cell Disease Unit, Mother and Child Centre of the Chantal BIYA Foundation, Yaoundé, Cameroon
3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Centre Pasteur of Cameroon, Yaoundé, Cameroon
4Faculty of Medicine, University of Paris Sud XI, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France

Received 29 September 2016; Revised 21 November 2016; Accepted 4 December 2016

Academic Editor: Roberto Walter Dal Negro

Copyright © 2016 Jobert Richie N. Nansseu and Jean Joel R. Bigna. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. This review examines whether electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) implementation or vulgarization in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) could be helpful in curtailing the toll of tobacco smoking in the region. Discussion. There are about 1.3 billion smokers worldwide, with nearly 80% of them living in developing countries where the burden of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths is the heaviest. Studies report that e-cigs may facilitate smoking cessation, reduction, or abstinence and may pose only a small fraction of the risks of traditional tobacco cigarettes; e-cigs may also considerably reduce second-hand smoking. Thereby, implementation of e-cig use could help to substantially reduce the burden driven by tobacco smoking in SSA, in a particular context of lack of regulations and control policies towards this threat. However, the evidence is not clear on whether e-cigs are risk-free, especially if used in the long term. Conclusions. On the whole, if e-cigs were to be introduced in SSA, they should be strictly recommended to current and/or ex-smokers as a method to quit smoking or prevent relapse and never-smokers should be strongly encouraged to avoid using these devices. Bans on sales of e-cigs to youngsters should be legislated, e-cig advertisements prohibited, and their usage continuously controlled and monitored.