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The Case in Favor of E-Cigarettes for Tobacco Harm Reduction

mdpi.com | Department of Cardiology, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Greece

Conclusion

E-cigarettes and related vapor products are the most promising harm reduction modalities because of their acceptability to smokers. There are about 46 million smokers in the United States, and an estimated 480,000 deaths per year attributed to cigarette smoking.

A carefully structured Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) initiative, with e-cigarettes as a prominent THR modality, added to current tobacco control programming, is the most feasible policy option likely to substantially reduce tobacco-attributable illness and death in the United States over the next 20 years. E-cigarettes and related vapor products are the most promising harm reduction modalities because of their acceptability to smokers. There are about 46 million smokers in the United States, and an estimated 480,000 deaths per year attributed to cigarette smoking. These numbers have been essentially stable since 2004. Currently recommended pharmaceutical smoking cessation protocols fail in about 90% of smokers who use them as directed, even under the best of study conditions, when results are measured at six to twelve months. E-cigarettes have not been attractive to non-smoking teens or adults. Limited numbers non-smokers have experimented with them, but hardly any have continued their use. The vast majority of e-cigarette use is by current smokers using them to cut down or quit cigarettes. E-cigarettes, even when used in no-smoking areas, pose no discernable risk to bystanders. Finally, addition of a THR component to current tobacco control programming will likely reduce costs by reducing the need for counseling and drugs.

Joel L. Nitzkin
JLN, MD Associates, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), 4939 Chestnut Street, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Received: 10 April 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Cigarettes as a Tool in Tobacco Harm Reduction)

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