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French National Academy of Medicine Acknowledges That E-Cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking

In a report released on March 3rd, the French National Academy of Medicine, admits electronic cigarettes have completely changed the face of tobacco control during the last three years and recommends they be used as tools for smoking cessation.

e-cigs2Following the encouraging results of the 2014 INPES Health Barometer, which revealed, among other things, that electronic cigarettes have helped around 400,000 French people quit smoking, the National Academy of Medicine deemed it necessary to take a stand on the issue of vaping and also make some recommendations on how they should be regulated.

“The electronic cigarette is a useful tool against smoking-related mortality and morbidity which allows people to progressively quit tobacco cigarettes,” rapporteurs Gérard Dubois, Jean Costentin and Jean-Pierre Goulle wrote in the recently released statement. The report also acknowledges that e-cigarettes are less toxic, with carcinogen concentrations between 9 and 450 times lower than analogs, as confirmed by several scientific studies, and that the aerosol contains no carbon monoxide or tar.

The National Academy of Medicine considers electronic cigarettes to be more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapy at helping smokers reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and twice as effective at helping them quit completely, thanks to a superior nicotine delivery system and the familiar hand-to-mouth gesture.

Given the significant decline in the number of French smokers registered in recent years -a phenomenon that coincides with the appearance of electronic cigarettes – the National Academy of Medicine recommends that smokers not be deterred from using e-cigarettes. “Instead, electronic cigarettes should be made available to smokers looking to quit,” the scientific society’s report states.

Regarding the regulation of electronic cigarettes, the French medical society would like to see at least part of them classified as medicine; specifically  those containing nicotine concentrations above 20 mg/ml, the sale of which is prohibited by the newly adopted European Tobacco Directive scheduled to take effect on January 1st 2016. The French National Academy of Medicine believes the drug status would allow such products to be included in medical insurance packages for smoking cessation.

Members of the Academy also believe all advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes should be prohibited unless they are officially classified as smoking cessation aids. A ban on the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and their use in public places were also included in the recommendations.

Sources: Academie National de Medecine, Le Quotidien de Medecine

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