The most important thing for us to state up front is that so far, there have been no tests that have been conclusive, about the health effects of electronic cigarettes. Obviously, smoking regular tobacco cigarettes is very bad for you – that isn’t in dispute. But researchers, health experts and governments are still looking into the possible benefits of using e-cigarettes.

Having said that, there’s no argument that when you use an e-cig, there is no tobacco burning. In fact, nothing is burning at all. You’re not taking tar or carbon monoxide into your lungs. What does that mean as far as the risks of lung cancer, damage or emphysema? What does it mean about the negative effects of smoking that you won’t experience? Once again, there’s no conclusive evidence on any of that yet. But you’re a smart person – you can take the information, make your own decisions on what it means, and make your own personal choice.

One other thing we need to make clear is that no one suggests or advertises electronic cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking. But again, you can take information and make the most of it. When you choose an e-cigarette, you can choose the amount of nicotine that you’ll be putting into your system, from 18 mg (or even higher) which is the equivalent of a full-flavored tobacco cigarette — all the day down to no nicotine at all. While the manufacturers don’t suggest you can use e-cigs as a way to wean your way off nicotine, many people say they’ve done just that.

There are lots of practical benefits to smokeless cigarettes. One of the most obvious is that there aren’t real limits to where you can “vape.” Smoking bans are, of course, almost universal these days; it’s almost impossible to smoke indoors anywhere except in your own home. Restaurants, schools, offices, hospitals, bars – most or all of them are off limits for smokers. But you can use e-cigarettes almost anywhere, without bothering anyone. No second hand smoke, no odor, no ashes or cigarette butts, no stains or burns – they’re green and they’re inoffensive. The vapor won’t bother or harm people with allergies or sensitivities to smoke, children or those who just object to smoke. Is there a benefit to smoking at your desk while you work instead of having to take a break? A benefit to not being forced out into the bad weather? A benefit to enjoying yourself while having a drink or after a meal? You bet there is.

A benefit that isn’t quite as tangible, but may be even greater, is cost. The cost of cigarettes is soaring, with a pack costing more than $5.00 in most places and a lot more than that elsewhere. On the other hand, refill cartridges for e-cigarettes cost anywhere from $2.00-$3.00 on average, and last longer than a pack of cigarettes would last. There are reliable estimates that say that using e-cigs will cost you about a third as much as smoking traditional cigarettes. If you choose to use an e-cig that you refill with e-liquid, the price goes down even more. And think of this: if you want just a few quick puffs with a regular tobacco cigarette, you still have to smoke the whole thing unless you go through the messy process of putting it out partway through (and we all know they never taste the same when you relight them). With an electronic cigarette, you can take as few or as many puffs as you want, making the e-cigarette last even longer.

We don’t think there’s any question: there are numerous benefits to smoking an electronic cigarette over a tobacco cigarette. That’s why we’ve switched, and why we think others should consider it as well.