A Heartfelt Indictment of Electronic and Flavored Cigarettes

Willett J, et al. The Tobacco Endgame: Eradicating a Worsening Epidemic A Joint Opinion From the American Heart Association, World Heart Federation, American College of Cardiology, and the European Society of Cardiology. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 May 19; S0735-1097(21)01186-4. Online ahead of print.

“Evidence is clear that e-cigarettes pose a significant global health threat through dramatic increases in youth tobacco and nicotine use. Many countries have banned the commercialization of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products using the precautionary principle (ie, that the introduction of a new product or process whose ultimate effects are unknown should be deferred until scientific evidence of its safety is available) as justification. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease has outlined a strong rationale for why low- and middle-income countries should ban the sale of all electronic nicotine delivery systems entirely… Eliminating the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products is essential to eradicating the global tobacco epidemic, and governments should eliminate the sale of all tobacco products with characterizing flavors to substantially reduce youth initiation and address tobacco-related disparities.”

Note: Medical authorities are tired of harm reduction arguments for electronic cigarettes. MJ Peters in a commentary in the journal, Respirology asserts, “At this critical time for world health, the THR [tobacco harm reduction] debate should be dismissed as no more than an untimely distraction. Increased commitment to quit can be achieved using proven effective interventions.”

Stephen Hamann

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