N. Car. docs suggest e-cigarettes for recalcitrant smokers, and support their use for quitting

By Gil Ross — Aug 11, 2014
NCar docs are ignoring the dire warnings of health officials and politicians by suggesting to their smoking patients to try e-cigarettes to help them quit. Unlike those demagogues, docs have to actually try to help.

Vaping, NOT SmokingEverywhere you read a news article these days, it seems like some politician or health expert is regaling smokers against using e-cigarettes as cessation aids. They are warned about lack of FDA regulation, addictive nicotine, kid-friendly flavors, liability towards explosions (OK, that s rarely discussed, but it has been noted very infrequently), and of course the ever-popular, we just don t know what health effects may occur down the road.

So it was good to see some commonsense reporting of a new survey published in PLOS-One attesting to the fact that good ole country docs are not paying attention to the mythology about the dangers of e-cigarettes, or the current lack of absolute proof that they do in fact help addicted smokers quit. It seems that when trying to help recalcitrant, addicted smokers quit the deadly habit, North Carolina MDs had little hesitation in supporting their patients use of e-cigs, and even of recommending them to those who had not yet tried them.

Under the auspices of the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, and with supplemental funding from the NCI, email questionnaire/surveys were sent out to several hundred randomly selected NC physicians in 2013. One-hundred twenty-eight responses were analyzed. The responses came from Family MDs, internists, ob-gyns, psychiatrists and surgeons. Two-thirds of the docs indicated their belief that e-cigs were a help in smoking cessation, and one-third recommended them to their patients. An article by the Winston-Salem Journal s Richard Craver discussed the details at some length, while adding perspective from me.

As I was quoted in the Craver article, allowing e-cigs to compete with cigarettes in the marketplace might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating e-cigs as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence, said Dr. Ross. In fact, that was quite temperate by my usual standards, given the avalanche of ideology, mythology, agenda and plain corruption that permeates the phony debate about whether smokers should use e-cigs to quit or stick to the worthless FDA-approved products and die trying.