New Systematic Review Investigates the Potential For Harm and B

  • New Systematic Review Investigates the Potential For Harm and Benefit For E-Cigs Regulators’ decisions need to be based on sound science rather than unsupported assertions and media-driven hysteria, but we increasingly see more weight given to the latter when it comes to e-cigs. The FDA’s regulations contain an atrocious assessment of the current state of research on e-cigarettes, yet when actual scientists and researchers do the same thing, the result is consistently positive. A new systematic review adds to this by summarizing the evidence into the usage, content, safety, and potential for helping smokers quit, aiming to determine whether e-cigarettes are likely to do more benefit or harm and inform regulatory decision-making. For those who follow the research on e-cigarettes, much of the content will be well-known to you (spoiler alert: e-cigarettes are very likely to be tons safer than combusted cigarettes and effective for reducing and quitting smoking), but regulators apparently incapable of objectively evaluating the state of scientific knowledge on the issue could learn a lot from a quarter of an hour spent reading through this paper. The review comes from Peter Hajek, Jean-François Etter, Neal Benowitz, Thomas Eissenberg, and Hayden McRobbie, and has been published online ahead of appearing in the journal Addiction. The full text is available for free. Summary Surveys of vapers, non-smokers and teens provide evidence that e-cigarette use is growing among smokers, but use is very rare among non-smokers. Among enthusiastic vapers (recruited from dedicated online forums but not representative of the general population), quit rates of between 42 and 99 percent have been reported in surveys. Research into the chemical composition of e-liquid aerosol (commonly called vapor) shows that e-cigarettes are likely to pose a considerably lower risk (if any at all) than cigarettes to both direct users and bystanders. PG is generally considered safe for inhalation due to results of animal testing, with only one study suggesting a decline in lung function for people regularly exposed to PG-containing smoke machines. VG can lead to acrolein production, but vapers are exposed to 80 percent less of it than smokers. The most common adverse effects reported during e-cigarette use are throat and mouth irritation, which is common across user surveys and clinical research. There are minor effects on airway resistance, but they aren’t considered clinically significant. The evidence to date supports the notion that e-cigarettes help smokers quit, but they also contribute to big reductions in the number of cigarettes per day smoked, often in people who never intended to quit. The researchers argue that regulators should base decisions on rational analyses and sound science rather than unsupported media-driven allegations.

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