According to a study, researchers suggest that use of regulating vaporized nicotine products, especially electronic cigarettes can lead to cigarette smoking overall with a potential reduction in deaths from cigarette smoking. Seven top international tobacco control experts are prompting regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have a broad ‘open-minded’ perspective when it comes to e-cigarettes. ‘We’re concerned the FDA, which has asserted its right to regulate e-cigarettes, will focus solely on the possibility that e-cigarettes and other vapour nicotine products might act as gateway to cigarette use,’ said David T. Levy, one of the reaserchers.
In the United States, smoking rates have fallen by 50 percent since their peak in the 1960s as a result of tobacco control policies, but smoking still contributes to high rates of premature mortality, the authors write. The 2014 Surgeon General’s Report stated, ‘the burden of death and disease from tobacco in the U.S. is overwhelmingly caused by cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products.’ E-cigarettes may counteract those health risks, and, Levy says, experts estimate that exclusive e-cigarette use is associated with about five percent of the mortality risks of smoking. He says that the evidence also suggests a strong potential for e-cigarettes use to improve population health by reducing or displacing cigarette use in countries where cigarette prevalence is still high and smokers are interested in quitting.
Levy and his colleagues report research in the U.S., Canada and England, that shows cigarette smoking rates have fallen more in the last two years than they have in the previous four or five years and that this trend has coincided with the increase in e-cigarette use. The authors anticipate that their suggested framework will be controversial due to an ongoing debate about whether e-cigarettes will complement or undermine tobacco control efforts. The authors also warn that heavy regulation and taxation of e-cigarettes will counteract the benefit that these products can provide. This study has been published in Addiction.