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E-Cigarettes a Good “Antidote” to Smoking, Italian Oncologist Says

According to Prof. Umberto Tirelli, Director of the Medical Oncology Department at the National Cancer Institute in Aviano, Italy, electronic cigarettes are not carcinogenic and could play a big role in the global fight against tobacco smoking, if only their use as an alternative to smoking were encouraged by governments and medical institutions.

Umberto-TirelliFor years, Tirelli has been advocating for the use of e-cigarettes in a bid to get more people off traditional cigarettes. Alongside other Italian health experts like Carlo Cipolla, of the European Institute of Oncology, Ricardo Polosa, of the University of Catania and Umberto Veronesi, director of the European Institute of Oncology, he has been preaching the advantages of vaping over smoking as a way to prevent cancers.

Speaking about the latest data from the UK, where Prof. Robert West of University College London found that 37.3 per cent of the 8.46 million adult smokers in the UK attempted to quit smoking in 2014, of which 28.2 per cent or 891,000 used electronic cigarettes to improve their chances, Prof. Tirelli said these findings come as “further confirmation” that we can use e-cigarette to effectively combat smoking.

“The use of traditional nicotine replacement therapy like gum and patches has failed all over the world,” the esteemed oncologist added. The main advantage of electronic cigarettes compared to other cessation methods is that they maintain familiar gestures. They also don’t produce the combustion of tobacco and paper which eliminates the inhalation of tens of highly carcinogenic substances.” In a 2013 study, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos found that one of the key reasons e-cigarettes are more effective is because they provide rituals associated with smoking behavior (e.g. hand-to-mouth movement, visible ‘smoke’ exhaled) and sensory stimulation associated with it

In his latest statement on the topic of electronic cigarettes, Umberto Tirelli suggested that smokers who cannot give up the habit with the help of traditional therapy should be encouraged to use e-cigarettes. “As numerous studies have already confirmed, the benefits of electronic cigarettes to personal health and the national health system are considerable,” he said. “Every year, tobacco is responsible for around 30% of all deaths. In 2015 alone, tobacco has caused 100,000 new tumors in Italy. That is a scary figure, but it can be brought down with the help of e-cigarettes.”

Prof. Tirelli also addressed the hostile attitude of Italy’s Government and medical institutions toward electronic cigarettes. “Medical institutions in our country have shown great skepticism regarding e-cigarettes, from the very beginning. But the example that comes from England shows that supporting e-cigarettes can become an antidote to tobacco product consumption,” he said, adding that “imposing new prohibitions and introducing excise taxes on vaping goods will not bring any benefit to the community.

Italy is indeed a great example of how harsh legislation can swiftly destroy the e-cigarette sector and push users back to smoking. Once the second largest e-cig market in Europe, behind the UK, Italy is now one of the world’s most hostile places to be selling or using vaping products. After Government introduced a 58.5% tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquid in 2013, over half of the country’s small businesses closed down and the ones still operating saw their profits slashed by as much as 80%. Data shows that these extreme measures by the Government have lead to a recovery of cigarette sales in Italy.

Italy is currently one of the few European countries in the EU to have an excise tax on electronic cigarettes, a fact that could change in the near future, if the European Commission gives in to the pressure of member states seeing their national budgets affected by the growing popularity of vaping. Under current legislation, member countries must impose an excise tax of at least 57% on tobacco products, while electronic cigarettes are only subject to VAT, which averages at about 20% across the EU. That has apparently lead to serious budget deficits.

“Let’s all remember that not smoking is the best way to prevent cancers. But considering the difficulty of overcoming nicotine dependence, if a person cannot quit tobacco cigarettes, they can try electronic cigarettes, which are not carcinogenic,” Prof. Tirelli concluded.

via Affari Italiani

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