Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Personal View

Hospitals are wrong to ban e-cigarette use

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5063 (Published 30 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5063

Should hospital create joint-ventures to promote e-cigarette? The road to hell is paved with good intentions!

Shaw considered that banning e-cigarettes in hospitals means missing a great public health opportunity and supported giving free e-cigarettes to patients.(1)

To obtain free e-cigarettes, considering the shortage in funding, hospitals could create a joint venture with the tobacco industry which have purchased e-cigarettes’ companies and registered for patents (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/26/e-cigarettes-market-vapo...). Only dinosaurs with paranoid cranks can fear such a win-win policy.(2)

As a clinician and an advocate of Evidence-Based-Medicine, I prefer to prescribe psychotherapy plus a combination of various forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy or plus varenicline. Indeed, empiricism may cause deadly harm, even for preventive medicine (eg. the prone position to prevent cot death).

Could Shaw provide us with his personal view on heat-not-burn products which could be even more attractive than e-cigarettes? Indeed, RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris have just marketed Revo and HeatSticks, respectively, scaling up their enduring efforts to protect their addicted consumers health, which began with the marketing of low-tar/light cigarettes, although Einstein warned: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."(3)

1 Shaw D. Hospitals are wrong to ban e-cigarette use. BMJ 2015;351:h5063.

2 Edwards R, Bhopal R. Beyond conflict of interest. Biomedical journals need a concerted response against influence of tobacco industry. BMJ. 1999 Feb 13;318:465-6.

3 Braillon A. Electronic cigarettes: from history to evidence-based medicine. Am J Prev Med 2014;47:e13.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 October 2015
Alain Braillon
senior consultant
University Hospital. 80000 Amiens. France