Latest posts by Lindsey Stroud (see all)
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- How Government E-Cigarette Restrictions Are Increasing Youth Tobacco Use - April 11, 2019
Thirteen public health organizations, including Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians issued a brief in July titled “E-cigarettes: a developing public health consensus.”
The statement addresses the drops in England’s adult-smoking rates, evidence that indicates teen and youth use of e-cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) “is almost exclusively confined to those young people who have already smoked,” and that evidence related to e-cigarettes “suggest that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are relatively small by comparison but [the organizations] must continue to study the long-term effects.”
The statement comes after a wave of evidence that shows that e-cigarettes and VNPs are continuously aiding tobacco cigarette smokers in quitting and providing a form of harm reduction.
Earlier in May, a survey asked 300 e-cigarette users “to identify the reason they use electronic cigarettes.” 62 percent of respondents used e-cigarettes “to quit or abstain from smoking cigarettes.” The statement issued by the English health organizations acknowledged impact of such devises as “more than 10 times as many people” use e-cigarettes and VNPs over “local stop smoking services.”
Public Health England found in 2015 that e-cigarettes and VNPs are “95 percent less harmful than cigarettes and should be promoted as a tobacco-cessation method.” A June British Medical Journal study found “strong evidence in favor of the view e-cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) can be effective tobacco-harm-reduction products.”
Unlike the United States, these English groups are sharing “a commitment to provide up-to-date information on the emerging evidence of e-cigarettes.” Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration chose earlier this year to regulate e-cigarettes and VNPs as tobacco products, despite the fact that neither product contains any tobacco. That move is expected to cost millions of dollars in order to be compliant.
The statement issued by these public health groups is just the latest evidence the supports the health benefits associated with e-cigarettes and VNPs and the United States should take note. A 2015 study estimated that e-cigarettes used for smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction could save Medicaid $48 billion in a single year. The FDA and policy makers need to be paying attention to such studies and emerging evidence as it rolls out new regulations for potentially life-saving products.