Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBY Open access

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review State of the Art Review

What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes?

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 30 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5275

Rapid Response:

Re: What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes?

I have no hesitation in relaying to patients my belief that, although e-cigarettes may not be 100% safe, they are significantly safer than tobacco-containing products (and may provide significant psychological advantage to smokers who are trying to quit).
This article does not persuade me to stop this practice. Furthermore, I would suggest that without strong evidence to the contrary, not recommending a product that appears to be a safer alternative is doing harm.
It might be as well for doctors to humbly remember that they are not, and never have been, infallible – and that, where there is a choice, the ultimate decision about (and responsibility for) treatment belongs to the patient...

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 November 2019
Peter J T Balfour
Addiction Psychiatrist
6 Oaken Street