On other pages (see Related Pages below), we have noted that:
– About 7 million people die each year from smoking-related causes
– Nicotine replacement is one of the pillars of the treatment of tobacco use disorder. But, nicotine patch, gum, etc. don’t provide the sensory and behavioral cues associated with smoking.
– People who smoke are taking up e-cigarettes in massive numbers around the world
On another page (see Related Pages below), we also reviewed data that showed that e-cigarettes do work to help with smoking cessation.
But given uncertainties about potential long-term risks and so on, do leading authorities recommend using e-cigarettes as one option for tobacco use disorder? Let’s look at recommendations published more recently (2016 or later).
Royal College of Physicians
In 2016, the Royal College of Physician’s issued a report titled Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction which is available HERE.
It noted that:
– Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability
– Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is effective
– But, e-cigarettes are much more popular than NRT as a substitute for tobacco cigarettes
So, what did the Royal College recommend regarding e-cigarettes? Here are four of their “Key Recommendations” (emphasis in color added by SPMH):
– “E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.”
– “E-cigarettes are not currently made to medicines standards and are probably more hazardous than NRT.”
– “However, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.”
The Royal College concluded HERE that: “…with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes…”
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society’s Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes (available HERE ) was published in February 2018.
In its Scientific Summary, it stated among other things (emphasis in color added by SPMH):
“Based on currently available evidence, using current generation e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but the health effects of long-term use are not known.”
In its Clinical Recommendations, it stated among other things (emphasis in color added by SPMH):
– “To help smokers quit, the ACS recommends that clinicians advise their patients to use FDA-approved cessation aids that have been proven to support successful quit attempts.”
– “Some smokers, despite firm clinician advice, will not attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and will not use FDA approved cessation medications. These individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products. Of course, these individuals should be regularly advised to completely quit using all tobacco products.”
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
The RANZCP expressed support in 2018 for the use of e-cigarettes to help people to stop smoking (see HERE). It stated that (emphasis in color added by SPMH)::
“E-cigarettes and vaporisers provide a less harmful way to deliver nicotine to people who smoke, thereby minimising the harm associated with smoking tobacco and reducing some of the health disparities experienced by people living with mental illness.”
Hartmann-Boyce J, Begh R, Aveyard P. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. BMJ. 2018 Jan 17;360:j5543. Review. PubMed PMID: 29343486.
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