International review of e-cig studies shows low risk, huge potential benefits

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TeenSmokingA new study published this week in the journal Addiction,authored by five experts well-known for their expertise in tobacco issues, seems to confirm what most of us in science-based public health already knew: e-cigarettes are much less harmful than cigarettes; they have far fewer and lower levels of toxicants, for the user/vaper and for bystanders; there is no valid evidence that they attract youngsters to nicotine use; they can help addicted smokers quit; and the dangers of over-regulation include stifling the vast benefits they may confer on addicted smokers trying to quit.

The authors are based in the U.S., the U.K., and Geneva, Switzerland. The lead author is Dr. Peter Hajek of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Queen Mary University of London; the others are J-F Etter, N. Benowitz, T. Eissenberg, and H. McRobbie who is the corresponding author and is also based at the Queen Mary University.

They evaluated all the world s literature on e-cigarettes up through February of this year, and wound up with 81 relevant studies, analysis of which independently by each led to the study s conclusions as outlined above and summarized nicely by the BBC.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross, who has been deeply involved in this issue for quite a while now, had this comment: While the main points here deserve to be trumpeted far and wide, even hopefully penetrating the science-proof walls of the CDC and the FDA, I also found it fascinating that two of the co-authors of this important review Drs. Eissenberg and Benowitz are veterans of the FDA s own Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Panel (TPSAC). Even more astounding, Neal Benowitz is a faculty member of the ultra-opponent of e-cigarettes, Stan Glantz, and they share a bailiwick, UCSF: I d give all I own to hear them discussing this paper together what will Stan do about it, other than coming up with some distortion to dismiss it. The key point that the authors emphasized and deserves to be repeated:

Allowing EC to compete with cigarettes in the market-place might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence. Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to EC as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use.