A new report from the Royal College of Physicians has concluded that the use of non-tobacco nicotine products, and e-cigarettes in particular, have huge potential to prevent death and other health risks posed by traditional tobacco products and could help lead to a tobacco-free society.
Among its findings, the report concluded that fears among some anti-smoking groups who suggest the use of e-cigarettes could act as a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes were largely unfounded.
While the study does cite the dangers of nicotine addiction as a concern, it also advocates the promotion of smokeless alternatives to cigarettes as an effective way to help smokers quit.
A rundown of the study's key findings posted on the college's website concludes that “...in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.”
In the United States, health groups such as the American Lung Association and many Democratic lawmakers have been calling on the FDA to crack down on e-cigarettes. States and localities across the country have instituted a variety of laws and regulations in recent years aimed at curtailing the growing popularity of “vaping.”
The Royal College of Physicians claims moves such as these could be counterproductive to reducing the world's leading cause of avoidable death.
“There is a need for regulation to reduce direct and indirect adverse effects of e-cigarette use, but this regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers,” the report states.
The study also addresses concerns that vaping could be used as a delivery device for other substances such as marijuana, but concludes that “…the available evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes are being used almost exclusively as safer alternatives to smoked tobacco, by confirmed smokers who are trying to reduce harm to themselves or others from smoking, or to quit smoking completely.