Study: E-Cigarettes Offer Far More Benefits Than Harms to Smokers and Bystanders



A new study in the journal Addiction reviewed data on e-cigarette use and their effects on smokers and bystanders. The study abstract reports:

EC [e-cigarette] aerosol can contain some of the toxicants present in tobacco smoke, but at levels which are much lower. Long-term health effects of EC use are unknown but compared with cigarettes, EC are likely to be much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders. EC are increasingly popular among smokers, but to date there is no evidence of regular use by never-smokers or by non-smoking children. EC enable some users to reduce or quit smoking.

Allowing EC to compete with cigarettes in the market-place might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence. Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to EC as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use.

In its report on the study, the BBC noted:

Warnings over e-cigarettes are alarmist—and increasing their use could save many lives, researchers have said.

For every million smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, more than 6,000 lives a year could be saved, according to the University College London team. …

Lead researcher Prof Peter Hajek said: "I think any responsible regulator proposing restricting regulation has to balance reducing risks with reducing potential benefits.

"In this case the risks are unlikely, some already proven not to exist, while the benefits are potentially enormous. It really could be a revolutionary intervention in public health if smokers switched from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.

"So killing benefits, which are huge, for risks which are small is like asking people to stop using mobile phones and tablets, or restrict their use and further development, because of a one in 10 million chance that the battery might overheat in your device."

E-cigarettes not only save the lives of smokers, but prevent conflict in bars, restaurants, and other public venues. And yet, rabid anti-tobacco campaigners unscientifically carry on trying to ban vaping.

For more background, see my colleague Jacob Sullum's excellent articles, "Jay Rockefeller's Vaping Vapors," and "Study Finds E-Cigarette Users Are More Likely to Stop Smoking Than People Who Use Other Methods."

Enjoy Reason TV's "Thank You for Vaping: Libertarians vs. New York City's E-Cig Ban" below.

Hat tip to Ken Constantino.