CALL FOR DOCTORS, HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND SCIENTISTS IN SUPPORT OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES.
As physicians and health professionals we see everyday patients who are severely affected by tobacco smoking, many of whom will eventually die or have their health severely affected despite our help and advice. Tobacco smoking remains the most serious public health issue in the world.
People smoke for the nicotine but die from the chemicals produced when tobacco is burned.i Unfortunately, currently available smoking cessation medications have limited efficacy and acceptability for the majority of smokers. However, we believe that there is a solution: the use of electronic cigarettes clearly has huge potential to help many smokers turn their backs on tobacco.
To this end, we strongly believe that ethically and scientifically speaking it is our responsibility to draw attention to the following:
It is the combustion of tobacco and the 4000 chemical substances that are produced when smoking cigarettes that are harmful to health of smokers, not the nicotine.
The dangers of electronic cigarettes are considerably lower than those of tobacco. From analysis of the constituents of e-cigarette vapour, e-cigarettes can be expected to be at least 95 to 99% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes in terms of long-term health risks.ii
The vapour exhaled from e-cigarette users is highly unlikely to be harmful to bystanders; nicotine concentrations in exhaled vapour are too low to have pharmacological effects on bystanders.iii
It is estimated that for every one million people who switch from smoking to electronic cigarettes, some 6000 premature deaths a year would be averted.vi
E-cigarettes do not ‘renormalise smoking’ – ‘vaping’ is not smoking. In many countries the rise in e-cigarette use has been accompanied by a continued decline in tobacco sales and prevalence of smoking.vii
The characteristics of electronic cigarettes should always be compared to those of conventional cigarettes, and discussion about the absolute long-term safety of electronic cigarettes must be contrasted ethically and scientifically with the absolute certainty of the harmfulness of smoked tobacco.
Already estimated 29m consumers in Europe use e-cigarettes.viii But we believe that the individual and public health gains associated with electronic cigarette use are held back by misconceptions about the product.
In light of the numerous studies undertaken to date we – as health professionals – cannot remain passive in the face of the clear public health benefits of electronic cigarettes.
We therefore recommend that our colleagues actively learn more about electronic cigarettes as a new public health tool in the ongoing global health campaign against tobacco-related diseases.
We call on our colleagues to sign this declaration in support of the merits of electronic cigarettes based on scientific evidence and ethical debate.
If you agree with the M.O.V.E statement please click on the image below to add your support.
i↑ Russell, M. A. Low-tar medium-nicotine cigarettes: a new approach to safer smoking (1976) BMJ 1 (6023) 1430-1433
ii↑ Farsalinos, K. E., & Polosa, R. (2014). Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 5(2), 67–86. doi:10.1177/2042098614524430
iii↑ Hajek P, Etter J-F, Benowitz N, McRobbie H (2014) Electronic cigarettes: review of use, content, safety, effects on smokers, and potential for harm and benefit. Addiction.
iv↑ McRobbie, H., Bullen, C., Hartmann-Boyce, J., & Hajek, P. (2014). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12, CD010216. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub2
v↑ Brown, J. et al (2014). Real-world effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross-sectional population study. Addiction doi:10.1111/add.12623
vi↑ West, R. B. J. (2014). Electronic cigarettes : fact and fiction. British Journal of General Practice, (September), 442–443.doi:10.3399/bjgp14X681253
viii↑ Vardavas, C.et al (2014). Determinants and prevalence of e-cigarette use throughout the European Union: a secondary analysis of 26 566 youth and adults from 27 Countries. Tobacco Control, 1–7. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051394