This is an early version of my next Women’s Journal article:
The Royal College of Physicians recently released a report that the use of e-cigarettes/nicotine vaporizers over regular tobacco products can reduce the long term health effects of smokers by 95%. This is 95% less cancer, heart attacks, strokes and lung disease than from smoking. They found that e-cig/vape users are more likely to quit tobacco and nicotine. They found that e-cig/vape users were almost exclusively ex-tobacco users and e-cigs/vapes are not a gateway to smoking for young people.
Because of these findings, they are urging a national health policy change in the United Kingdom for doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers to urge smokers to switch. To lawmakers they recommend a light handed regulatory strategy to encourage the use of these products over tobacco.
The Royal College of Physicians is the main medical organization in the UK and is responsible for the licensure of medical doctors there. Their latest 206 page report on tobacco and e-cig use contains hundreds of literature citations. Their first report on the dangers of tobacco use was published in 1962 and predates the U.S. Surgeon General’s report by two years.
Unfortunately in the United States, we are taking a muddled approach to e-cigarettes. We have encouraged nicotine patches and gum, but have discouraged vapes/ e-cigs use because of the unknowns in the long term safety with them.
In their report, the RCP is clear that vaping/e-cigarettes are harmful. They expect an increase of lung and cardiovascular problems with long term use over non users. But they are estimating that the long term harm is at most 5% (and more likely 2-3%) of the long term effects of smoking. They state: “for all the potential risks involved, harm reduction has huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use, and to hasten our progress to a tobacco-free society.”
The opponents of vaping/e-cigarettes are going to fight hard against this technology. It is disruptive in many ways including economics. Most vape shops and juice suppliers are small Mom and Pop shops. Big Tobacco is threatened. They want to control and regulate e-cigs to keep from losing their market share. Federal and state anti-smoking programs (who are funded by cigarette taxes) are not going to lead on this issue because of a conflict of interest.
As e-cigs and vaping becomes more popular we will continue to hear news reports someone being hurt or some of the other dangers of them. What we won’t hear about is that more than 480,000 people in the U.S. are dying from cigarette smoke every year. That’s 2-3 Boeing 747’s crashing every day. It’s like having three 9/11 like events happening in the United States every week! The CDC states that smoking cuts 10 years off of a person’s life.
How’d you like to prevent 960 planes from crashing next year? How about preventing 152 9/11 events next year? How about having your loved one around for an extra 9 1/2 years? Get them to switch to vaporizers/e-cigs. Rather than purchasing an e-cig/vape system for a loved one, my suggestion is to get a gift certificate to your local vape shop. Most are friendly and will spend 45 minutes to an hour explaining to new customers different options as well as helping them picking the best equipment, nicotine levels as well as flavor. Customers can sample the “juice” and many will allow customers to try different equipment. Because many shops are busy, your loved one may need to schedule this ahead of time.
Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction by the Royal College of Physicians can be found here: http://bit.ly/1QBwSWg
Finally, we all “know” how smoking kills people with cancer, lung, and heart disease, but it also reduces their daily quality of life. Smokers in my practice have more inflammation and pain, they take longer to heal from injury, they have less energy and stamina than non-smokers. Vaping is a way to sig nificantly improve their daily quality of life.
Yours in health,
Update: On May 5th the FDA announced draconian new regulations that will severely affect the ecig/vaporizor market within the next two years. This is a huge win for Big Tobacco who will be able to corner the market with their inferior products. A last ditch effort to lessen the FDA’s regulations is house bill HR 2058 and the Cole-Bishop Amendment. I urge you to read about these and ask our representatives to support them. You can do both here: www.casaa.org.
Here is a pdf of this article: Do You Have a Loved One Who Smokes?
E-Cigarettes 95% healthier smoking