E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Reputed European Oncologist Defends E-Cigarettes as a Way to Fight Lung Cancer

Dr. Umberto Veronesi, a reputed Italian surgeon and scientific director of the European Institute of Oncology, has recently spoken in defense of electronic cigarettes as a way of fighting lung cancer and generally improving public health.

e-cigarette-assemblingFor years, Dr. Veronesi, along with other Italian health experts like Carlo Cipolla, of the European Institute of Oncology, Ricardo Polosa, of the University of Catania and Umberto Tirelli, of the National Cancer Institute in Aviano, has been preaching about the benefits of using electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. After witnessing firsthand the damage caused by tobacco cigarettes, Veronesi is convinced electronic cigarettes are a much less-harmful alternative and should be praised instead of attacked in the name of a ‘nonsense’ precautionary principle.

Commenting on a recent article written by Daniel Sarewitz in the international journal of science Nature, Umberto Veronesi took to one of Italy’s most popular newspapers, La Repubblica, to criticize health organizations’ hostile attitude towards electronic cigarettes. Like Sarewitz, the Italian oncologist wonders what is the point of heavily regulating e-cigarettes and wasting years on discovering the possible side-effects of electronic cigarettes when over 2 million people die of smoking-induced lung cancer every year, worldwide, and virtually everyone agrees electronic cigarettes pose a much less serious risk?

“Tobacco smoking is the leading known cause of cancer worldwide,” Veronesi wrote. “Lung cancer alone kills 2 million people every year, 40,000 of which in Italy, not to mention the other types of smoking-related tumors and cardio-cerebrovascular damage. The cigarette can therefore be considered, for the burden of premature death, disease, disability and pain that it carries wherever it spreads, a social disaster worse than any war or calamity that has ever affected humanity.” The Italian doctor adds that for the last forty years, the medical community – oncologists in particular – has been committed to eradicating smoking, but failed miserably because Governments have never really considered tobacco control a priority of their health and social policies.

This failure prompted health experts to approach the problem differently. That’s how the concept of ‘tobacco harm reduction’ was born. When it reaches combustion temperature, tobacco releases no less than 13 polycyclic hydrocarbons, known carcinogens that smokers inhale into their lungs, along with dozens of other carcinogens produced from the burning of the paper, as well as other toxins. Because electronic cigarettes replace the tobacco with a solution containing propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, both considered generally safe for consumption, Dr. Umberto Veronesi considers them to be “an effective tool to combat the serious tragedy of lung cancer”. The reputed oncologist believes that if, hypothetically, all smokers were to switch to electronic cigarettes, this would result in a short term drastic reduction of lung cancer occurrence, which in time would become a rare disease.

While Veronesi acknowledges it is inevitable that electronic cigarettes are disliked by tobacco growers and cigarette companies, whose lobbying power is well-known, he emphasizes that this should not influence global health organizations to take position against the electronic cigarette using the precautionary principle as pretext. As noted by Daniel Sarewitz in his editorial, there is a huge disproportion between the hypothesis of collateral risk cited by the World Health Organization and other health groups and the certainty of a cause of lung cancer.

As evidence of the less serious risk posed by electronic cigarettes compared to smoking, Veronesi cites a pilot study conducted by the department of Public Health at the University of Catania on the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes, as well as a recently completed study by the European Institute of Oncology which didn’t find a single case of toxicity or side-effects associated with the use of electronic cigarettes. The complete findings of this study will be published later this year.

Umberto Veronesi is one of the 50 notable health experts from Europe and the United States who recently sent a letter to the World Health Organization asking its members not to issue warnings and prohibitions based on assumptions, but rater promote scientific research and use it in the fight against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. As we previously wrote, other scientists criticized the World Health Organization as well, after it released its alarmist review of electronic cigarettes.

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