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European health body ‘cannot back vaping as safe way to quit smoking’

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) said it cannot recommend tobacco harm reduction strategies and that there is no evidence alternative nicotine products are safe.

They say a reduced but continued exposure to toxicants is a “bad alternative to quitting smoking” and that harm reduction should be used for a minority of high-risk smokers rather than the general population.

In an editorial, the ERS Tobacco Control Committee said current health policies are based on “well-meaning but incorrect or undocumented claims or assumptions”.

The authors write: “It must be acknowledged that many health professionals, tobacco control professionals and decision-makers who recommend the harm reduction strategy have very good intentions.

“They focus on the smokers and see harm reduction as a pragmatic way of reducing the devastating health effects of the tobacco epidemic.

“However, good intentions must always be supported by strong evidence before large-scale implementation.

"Evidence on the safety and the effectiveness of alternative nicotine delivery products as a smoking cessation tool is still lacking, while use of nicotine-containing products is spreading to non-smokers, which is most alarming.”

The authors of the editorial list seven arguments detailing their position.

They say there is a lack of evidence that nicotine delivery products are effective or safe smoking cessation tools, dual use is frequent, and the devices may have a “unfavourable” net effect on society with non-smokers being tempted to vape.

They also say there are many other effective strategies to reduce smoking at a population level – which they call one of public health’s “greatest successes”.

They conclude: “Therefore, ERS strongly supports implementation of WorldHealth Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which also provides regulation tonovel products, and cannot recommend tobacco harm reduction as a population-based strategy.”

But Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and consultant in respiratory medicine at the University of Nottingham, said every argument made in the editorial was wrong.


Source: Irish Examiner, 5th December 2019

Posted by on 12/05 at 10:19 AM in
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