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More Regulation On E-Cigarettes Will Eventually Damage Public Health

Regulation On E-Cigarettes Will Eventually Damage Public Health

Due to the considerable popularity that electronic cigarettes have gained over the past few years, public health researchers are now investigating them more closely than ever before.

Who did the research?

Among other things, they have been checking on potential negative aspects like reducing motivation to stop smoking or providing a gateway to smoking. But they have also looked at the benefits, such as giving smokers safer access to nicotine and reducing, or even practically eliminating, cigarette use.

One of the most serious of these studies was undertaken by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). This research is actually a review of a vast swathe of material and includes some 81 previous studies. The results were published in the scientific journal “Addiction”.

What did the researchers discover?

The conclusion was that, while there are still gaps in the knowledge of the full effects of e-cigarettes, the evidence does not justify regulating them more strictly than, or even as strictly as, conventional cigarettes.

QMUL Professor Peter Hajek

The scientific review was conducted by an international team of leading tobacco researchers led by QMUL’s Professor Peter Hajek. He says:

The evidence we currently have is clear: e-cigarettes should be allowed to compete against conventional cigarettes in the marketplace. Health care professionals may advise smokers who are unwilling to cease nicotine use to switch to e-cigarettes. Smokers who have not managed to stop with current treatments may also benefit from switching to e-cigarettes.

The fact is that Vaping liquid nicotine simply isn’t as harmful as smoking tobacco cigarettes. That doesn’t mean it’s totally safe, simply that it’s not as risky.

To be clear here, this isn’t a controversial claim. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted the same thing itself in an offhand remark at a Senate hearing on tobacco products.

What was the International reaction?

In a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), an independent group of 50 scientists and medical experts said that electronic cigarettes have the potential to save hundreds of millions of lives by preventing the diseases caused by smoking tobacco.

Trestrictions on e-cigaretteshe scientists, representing 15 different countries, wrote an open letter to WHO director Margaret Chen warning it not to crack down on vaping products. It calls e-cigs a “critical strategy” for preventing tobacco-related deaths and “among the most significant health innovations of the 21st Century—perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives”. The reason that the letter was sent was a reaction to a leaked document which indicated that WHO was discussing stringent, potentially industry-killing restrictions on e-cigarettes, as reported by Reuters.

Although, in other research, Shyam Biswal, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stated:

Shyam Biswal Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School

Our findings (from a study into the effect of e-cigarettes on mice) suggest that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs.

 

The effect on public health?

On the other hand, Thomas Sussan, the lead author, accepted that “It’s 100 times lower than cigarette smoke”.

Following the general consensus on the benefits of e-cigarettes, Professor Hajek told the BBC:

If harsh regulations are put in place now, we will damage public health on a big scale.

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