Health Groups Divided on E-Cigarette Pros and Cons, Agree Regulation Matters

While the vast majority of health experts and public health authorities remain wholly unconvinced as to the apparent ‘safety’ of electronic cigarettes, some influential figures are continuing to throw their support behind the devices. This week, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos took to the stage at an Abu Dhabi conference to state quite adamantly that as smoking cessation tools, e-cigarettes are proving to be pricelessly valuable assets from a public health perspective.

He told that at the anti-tobacco event that of the near 20,000 people incorporated in a recent study into the devices, over 80% went on to quit smoking entirely and credited the devices with their respective success.

“In fact, they quit smoking very easily within the first month of the e-cigarette use on average,” he told those in attendance.

“That’s something you don’t see with any other method of smoking cessation.”

Without producing any specific evidence to back such a claims, he went on to state that “if three percent of smokers switch to e-cigarettes we are going to save about two million lives in the next 20 years”.

Health Groups Divided on E-Cigarette Pros and Cons, Agree Regulation Matters

Geneva University representative Jean-Francois Etter also insisted that while electronic cigarettes are imperfect, they should not be chastised to the kind of extent many experts insist.

“I think that the WHO people should know better than kill alternatives to smoking cigarettes,” he said.

“Alternatives to smoking do not need to be 100 percent safe, they just need to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes,”

“You choose the lesser of two evils.”

Of course this was not a view shared by all anti-tobacco campaigners present at the event – one of whom being World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan.

“Non-smoking is the norm and e-cigarettes will derail that normality thinking, because it will attract especially young people to take up smoking,” she said at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

“Non-smoking is the norm and e-cigarettes will derail that normality thinking, because it will attract especially young people to take up smoking,”

“So I do not support that.”

However, even those advocating the wider use of such devices as less harmful alternative to conventional cigarettes were wholly in agreement that stricter control and regulation on public sales remain key issues to address.