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Contrary to FDA recommendations that electronic cigarette users should switch to FDA-approved smoking cessation products, new research published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, conducted by J. Fouls, a professor at Penn State University, College of Medicine, Cancer Institute, confirms that the change could reverse the health gain achieved. Health risks associated with the use of e- cigs are likely much smaller (if any) than smoking traditional cigarettes and can potentially yield a large health benefit. Yet, the FDA and other anti-smoking organizations continue to adamantly claim electronic cigarettes are dangerous for your health. Electronic cigarettes are not FDA approved as smoking cessation products. The administration classified them as a tobacco product in April, 2011. Now, a growing number of survey-based evidence shows that e-cigs are being used successfully by smokers to quit smoking, the majority of which had previously tried FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) unsuccessfully. This is their primary motive for starting to use-ecigs, especially for long-time smokers. Perhaps more importantly, the reason why the e-cig appears to work so well for those desiring to quit is that it mimics cigarette smoking so closely while removing the hazards of inhaling smoke. In fact, findings reveal that a high proportion of e-cig users completely replace cigarette smoking with e-cig use—much higher than any FDA approved gums, patches and drugs.
Oddly enough, organizations such as the American Lung Association (ALA), the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the FDA, which stand to protect and promote health, are alleging risks associated with the use of electronic cigarettes without substantial evidence or research to back their claims. They assert that there is no scientific evidence about the safety of electronic cigarettes and that they are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. Yet, along with other independently published research, they recommend that smokers use FDA approved NRT’s which they deem acceptable permanent substitutes for smoking.
Nevertheless, even the highest daily dose of e-cig liquid contains the same amount of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (carcinogens) as a one-day supply of FDA-approved nicotine patch. Chantix initially dubbed a miracle drug, has such adverse effects including depression and suicidal thoughts that both the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration required that personnel operating aircrafts and/or missile crew members not take the drug. Furthermore, all FDA-approved NTR’s fail to compensate for an important physical element of cigarette-smoking, the hand-to-mouth gesture. Yet they continue to recommend them over other smokeless tobacco alternatives.
Public health experts need to provide truthful information about the relative risks of both FDA-approved NTR’s and electronic cigarettes. Warnings such as “there is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are safe or that they can help smokers quit” by the American Cancer Society are misleading half-truths. While no product could ever be 100% safe, warnings by the FDA, ALA and ACS amongst others, often imply that the health risks associated with the use e-cigs are potentially higher to the risks of smoking, which is far from the truth. In his study, Penn State Professor J. Foulds, states that “for those who have successfully switched to e-cigs, the priority should be staying off cigarettes” proving that recommending that ex-smokers who use electronic cigarettes switch back to FDA approved NTR’s could have devastating health consequences.
As explained by Michael B. Siegel is a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health “the distinct and unique advantage of e-cigarettes is that they allow individuals to utilize one device that can simultaneously address nicotine withdrawal, psychological factors, and behavioral cues that serve as barriers to smoking abstinence. The fınding that most individuals who used e-cigarettes at least reduced the number of tobacco cigarettes they smoked suggests that if proven safe, e-cigarettes may be a potentially important tool for harm reduction, especially among smokers who have found currently available pharmaceutical smoking-cessation options to be ineffective.”
Article Author: Barbara Celine
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