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NAQC Newsroom: Research

COUNTERPOINT: Does the Risk of Electronic Cigarettes Exceed Potential Benefits? NO.

Monday, October 19, 2015  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Holly R. Middlekauff, MD.
COUNTERPOINT: Does the Risk of Electronic Cigarettes Exceed Potential Benefits? NO.
Chest. 2015; 148(3):582-584. Doi10.1378/chest. 15-0540.
Although the medical community is unanimous in its wish to limit or even eliminate tobacco smoking, the role of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in this process has been controversial.1 Will e-cigarettes be part of the solution by harm reduction, and are e-cigarettes really less harmful? Or will e-cigarettes contribute to the problem by serving as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes? As we are debating, regulations are being issued—and challenged. Unfortunately, due to a paucity of data, the calls for regulations in some cases sound alarmist.2 Certainly contributing to the strong opposition roused by the e-cigarette is our well-founded distrust of anything associated with the $85 billion US combusted-cigarette industry. Tobacco cigarette smoke is responsible for approximately 480,000 deaths/y in the United States. Approximately 18% of adult Americans smoke, a number which has not significantly decreased for a decade, despite antismoking campaigns, high cigarette taxes, and smoke-free policies. The position argued here is that an emotion-based, rather than evidenced-based, response to e-cigarettes may lead to a premature and scientifically unjustified rejection of a potentially beneficial means to reduce the enormous adverse health effects of tobacco cigarettes.

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