Top US Cancer Charity Issues Partial Endorsement Of Vaping For Smokers

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

A top U.S. cancer charity is revising their advice concerning electronic cigarettes to reflect prevailing research showing the devices drastically reduce health harms from smoking.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) issued a position statement on e-cigarettes Monday that argues medical providers should support smokers who are attempting to quit with a vaping device. The society’s statement says combustible cigarettes are the primary enemy of public health, noting that 98 percent of tobacco-related deaths are caused by smoking, according to Vaping Post.

While the ACS still prefers smokers quit cold turkey or use cessation tools (e.g., nicotine gum and Food and Drug Administration-approved patches), they argue ditching cigarettes to exclusively vape “is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.”

“Based on currently available evidence, using current generation e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but the health effects of long-term use are not known,” says the position statement from the ACS. “Some smokers, despite firm clinician advice, will not attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and will not use FDA-approved cessation mediations. These individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.”

Still, ACS officials advocate against long-term vaping and say medical providers should regularly encourage patients who are using e-cigarettes to quit the practice. They also advocate raising the purchasing age on all tobacco-related products (including vapor products), despite evidence age hikes create a black market for cigarettes that makes it easier for kids to access tobacco.

While the ACS still views nicotine addiction as a major threat to public health, their acknowledgment that vaping instead of smoking improves health outcomes is welcome news for former smokers relying on the devices.

Ample research is proving vaping devices significantly reduce the harm cigarettes cause — the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are released through tobacco combustion.

Scientists at the University of Catania in Italy recently conducted a three-year study investigating the effects of regular vaping on the body of the user, finding “no evidence of health concerns associated with long-term use of e-cigarettes” on blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, exhaled breath nitric oxide and exhaled carbon monoxide.

Research published in the Journal of Aerosol Science in January shows that chemical levels in the vapor released from e-cigarettes are well below the safety limits suggested by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization. The study determines that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses.

Millions of former smokers in the U.S. are embracing the positive science on vaping and using the harm reduction tools to quit combustible cigarettes.

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