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NAQC Newsroom: Research

E-Cigarettes: Introducing New Complexities and Controversies to the Field of Nicotine and Tobacco Re

Monday, October 19, 2015  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Jennifer B. Unger.
E-Cigarettes: Introducing New Complexities and Controversies to the Field of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Nicotine Tob Res (2015) 17 (10): 1185-1186. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntv186  
For decades, there has been nearly unanimous agreement among researchers that tobacco is harmful to health, that current smokers should quit, and that non-smokers should not start smoking.1 The introduction of e-cigarettes has brought new debates to the scientific community. As described by Hitchman,2 the field has not yet achieved consensus about whether or not e-cigarettes help smokers quit. The answer to this question likely depends on numerous factors, including the characteristics of the people attempting to quit,3 the characteristics of the electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) they choose,2 and the definition of cessation used in the study. Indeed, when we as researchers debate this issue, it is often unclear whether we are all using the same definition of cessation. Does cessation include the replacement of combustible cigarettes with long-term use of less harmful e-cigarettes? Or does cessation mean complete and permanent abstinence from nicotine? One’s definition of cessation is somewhat ideological, determined in part by whether one believes that the long-term use of nicotine without combustion is dangerous or not (for the individual as well as for bystanders breathing nearby and for youth observing behaviors that they might later imitate). This is still an empirical question …

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