Re: Evidence about electronic cigarettes: a foundation built on rock or sand?
Fifteen questions to clear the fog around e-cigarettes.
Recently there has been much debate of various kinds about e-cigarettes and we have contributed in a small way to it (1-7). However, there is still a need for greater clarity. Succinct research based answers to the following fifteen questions may help to provide a clearer way forward.
1. If a product is enjoyable and harmless why shouldn’t individuals be freely allowed to use it?
2. Are e-cigarettes safer than traditional cigarettes?
3. Do e-cigarettes encourage traditional smokers to cut down or quit?
4. Is the long-term use of nicotine however used harmful?
5. Are the other ingredients used in e-cigarettes harmful?
6. Do we know the long term health consequences of e-cigarettes?
7. Are manufacturers free to add what they want to e-cigarettes?
8. Would manufacturers promote a product that is harmful?
9. Are e-cigarettes encouraging non-smokers to smoke traditional cigarettes?
10. Are non-smokers being encouraged to smoke e-cigarettes?
11. Are sufficient steps being taken to ensure that young people are not encouraged to use e-cigarettes as a lifestyle choice?
12. Will the promotion of e-cigarettes be driven by a business or public health model or both?
13. Will the marketing of e-cigarettes in high income countries encourage people to smoke in low and middle income countries?
14. Do we need more research into the efficacy and marketing of e-cigarettes?
15. Are there lessons to be learned from the promotion of traditional cigarettes?
1) Institute of Health Promotion and Education. IHPE Position Statement: Electronic Cigarettes. Sept. 2014. [viewed 22 September 2015]. Available from: http://ihpe.org.uk/2014/09/ihpe-position-statement-electronic-cigarettes/
2) LLOYD J. President’s Letter. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education. Vol 52, No 2, 116-117. 2014
3) WATSON M C and FORSHAW M, 2014. Re: Regulation of electronic cigarettes British Medical Journal Rapid Response 10th September 2014.
4) WATSON M C and FORSHAW M, 2014. Re: E-cigarettes latest: users on the up but rules tighten British Medical Journal Rapid Response 28th October 2014.
5) WATSON M C and FORSHAW M, 2015. Re: Why e-cigarettes are dividing the public health community British Medical Journal Rapid Response 28th June 2015.
6) WATSON M C and FORSHAW M, 2015. Why we shouldn’t normalise the use of e-cigarettes BMJ 2015;351:h3770.
7) WATSON M C and LLOYD J, 2015. Re: Fuming about e-cigarettes and harm British Medical Journal Rapid Response 28th August 2015.
Competing interests: No competing interests