A new review of research on e-cigarettes verifies their beneficial risk profile compared to tobacco cigarettes

 

A new paper published today in Addiction concludes that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful compared to conventional cigarettes and it would be beneficial for smokers to switch rather than continue smoking. The authors suggest healthcare professionals to advice smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other methods to switch to e-cigarette use as an alternative to smoking.

The study presented evidence from 115 references, showing that current evidence supports the beneficial profile of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. They discuss almost every clinical and laboratory study performed on e-cigarettes, acknowledging the presence of some toxic chemicals but at levels far lower compared to cigarette smoke. They conclude: “E-liquids and aerosols tested so far contain some toxicants in concentrations much lower than in tobacco smoke and negligible concentrations of carcinogens. Passive exposure to EC aerosol can expose non-users to nicotine, but at concentrations unlikely to have any pharmacological significance”. Moreover, they specifically emphasize that there is no evidence to support that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking or result in elevated cigarette consumption. In fact, there is evidence for the exact opposite. Finally, the authors argue that regulatory decisions should be proportional and based on evidence.

 

This review concludes in the same way as the first review published by Farsalinos and Polosa. In that study, authors specifically evaluated the safety/risk profile of e-cigarettes and concluded that: “…current data on safety evaluation and risk assessment of ECs is sufficient enough to avert restrictive regulatory measures as a consequence of an irrational application of the precautionary principle”. The two reviews are consistent in findings and conclusions, unlike another recent review by Grana et al. published in Circulation, which involved a lot of mispresentations and misinterpretations of evidence. A paper exposing these problems will be available soon.

 

 

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