A group of ten reputed French doctors have recently signed a letter stating their support for electronic cigarettes, and warning members of the European Parliament that regulating them as medicinal products would only keep smokers from making the switch from tobacco.
The group of physicians includes experts in tobacco addiction, cardiology, angiology, cancer, urology, neurology, fetal pathology, as well France’s senior ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, all of which recognize the potential of e-cigarettes to save millions of lives all over the world. “As medical professionals, we see patients every day who are victims of smoking. It is one of the most serious medical problems in France today,” the French doctors wrote in their letter. “At the same time, we have noted the development of electronic cigarettes, which have helped a huge number of people stop smoking tobacco.” They showed their concerns about the many misconceptions regarding electronic cigarettes, despite their potential in terms of public health being very real.
In order to emphasize the huge health-related differences between smoking and vaping, the ten doctors thought it best to make a series of clarifications:
1.”it’s the combustion of tobacco that is dangerous for smokers’ health, not the nicotine. It’s well established that nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are not harmful to smokers trying to quit. It’s the same for the nicotine contained by electronic cigarettes;”
2. “the main poisons produced by the combustion of tobacco and contained in the smoke are carbon monoxide (CO), responsible for heart attack and strokes, carcinogenic tar and fine particles that cause obstructive chronic bronchitis. Electronic cigarettes are infinitely less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes as they contain no carbon monoxide, tar or fine particles;”
3. “the characteristics of electronic cigarettes should always be compared to those of conventional cigarettes, and if doubts and debates regarding their long-term safety persist, they must be confronted with the certain dangers posed by tobacco;”
4. “The electronic cigarette can be recommended to all smokers who want to quit and it may well be a co-prescribed with patches or oral forms of nicotine, if its sole use is insufficient to enable them to achieve their objective. It is less addictive than conventional cigarettes and thus contributes to a rapid or gradual smoking cessation.”
“We recommend that research to improve the e-cigarettes and e-liquid actively continue, so as to satisfy a growing number of smokers and effectively assist in smoking cessation,” the doctors wrote. “To this end we support the position of the French authorities not to make the e-cigarette a drug, so as to leave the research open to all potentially affected by the industrial safety and efficacy of this product.”
The open letter signed by these medical experts contradicts France’s decision to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places, suggesting that the motives behind the radical measure may not actually have been health related. Luckily, French authorities may have problems imposing the rule following yesterday’s EU announcement concerning the heavily disputed new tobacco directive. The members of the European Parliament rejected proposals to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines opting instead for stricter regulations regarding their labeling and quality of ingredients.
Source: Le Parisien