E-cig­a­rettes can help smok­ers quit

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

Nathan Porter’s story about e-cig­a­rettes per­pet­u­ates many of the myths about the prod­uct (“Elec­tronic cig­a­rette ped­dlers are just blow­ing smoke, health of­fi­cials say,” Web, Oct. 31).

To set the record straight, there is a grow­ing body of re­search show­ing that e-cig­a­rettes are at least as ef­fec­tive as ni­co­tine patches at help­ing smok­ers to stop light­ing up “can­cer sticks.” All of the clin­i­cal tri­als have noted that ad­verse ef­fects among par­tic­i­pants were mild and di­min­ished over the course of the study. No se­ri­ous ad­verse ef­fects were at­trib­uted to e-cig­a­rette use, not even in a trial that fol­lowed sub­jects for 24 months.

The ar­ti­cle im­plied that switch­ing from in­hal­ing smoke to in­hal­ing va­por has no ben­e­fits. But switch­ing elim­i­nates or re­duces ex­po­sure to the car­cino­gens and tox­ins found in smoke that are ab­sent in va­por, and those who have switched — even if only par­tially — re­port im­prove­ments in their health, start­ing with a re­duc­tion in short­ness of breath and cough­ing.

There is no ev­i­dence that e-cig­a­rette use is a gate­way to smok­ing among youth. De­spite youth ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with e-cig­a­rettes, the rates of past-month smok­ing and smok­ing ini­ti­a­tion have con­tin­ued to de­cline, reach­ing an all-time low in 2012, ac­cord­ing to the Sub­stance Abuse and Men­tal Health Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

ELAINE KELLER

Wash­ing­ton

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