National Academy of Sciences Report on E-cigarettes

A Report on E-cigs by the National Academy of Sciences was released today (January 23, 2018)

 It was announced weeks ago that they were close to releasing their report, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would they hold the typical anti-tobacco narrative and repeat the same old talking points, such as “POP CORN LUNG” or would they actually present something useful to the general public? We no longer have to ponder that question.  REPORT (Paywall)

Dr. Michael Siegel, a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health and with over 30 years of tobacco control experience, summarized the report on his blog very well. Here’s a couple of the major points he took from the report:

  1. "There is substantial evidence that except for nicotine, under typical conditions of use, exposure to potentially toxic substances from e-cigarettes is significantly lower compared with combustible tobacco cigarettes."
  2. "There is conclusive evidence that completely substituting e-cigarettes for combustible tobacco cigarettes reduces users’ exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes."
  3. "There is moderate evidence that risk and severity of dependence are lower for e-cigarettes than combustible tobacco cigarettes."
  4. "There is moderate evidence that second-hand exposure to nicotine and particulates is lower from e-cigarettes compared with combustible tobacco cigarettes."
  5. "There is no available evidence whether or not e-cigarette use is associated with clinical cardiovascular outcomes (coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease) and subclinical atherosclerosis (carotid intima media-thickness and coronary artery calcification)."
  6. "There is insufficient evidence that e-cigarette use is associated with long-term changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac geometry and function."
  7. "There is no available evidence whether or not e-cigarette use is associated with intermediate cancer endpoints in humans. This holds true for comparisons of e-cigarette use compared with combustible tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarette use compared with no use of tobacco products."
  8. "There is no available evidence whether or not e-cigarettes cause respiratory diseases in humans."
  9. "There is limited evidence for improvement in lung function and respiratory symptoms among adult smokers with asthma who switch to e-cigarettes completely or in part (dual use)."
  10. "There is limited evidence for reduction of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations among adult smokers with COPD who switch to e-cigarettes completely or in part (dual use)."
  11. "While the overall evidence from observational trials is mixed, there is moderate evidence from observational studies that more frequent use of e-cigarettes is associated with increased likelihood of cessation."
  12. "There is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults."
  13. "There is conclusive evidence that, other than nicotine, the number, quantity, and characteristics of potentially toxic substances emitted from e-cigarettes is highly variable and depends on product characteristics (including device and e-liquid characteristics) and how the device is operated."

Dr. Siegel’s blog is a treasure of data on tobacco and e-cigarettes. Given his unique qualifications and history in tobacco control, his opinion on the current social and regulatory issues facing e-cigarettes should be held in high regard. He was involved very early on with tobacco control, at a time when tobacco control’s goals were still based on morals. Over time, he realized the movement went beyond helping people that smoke or pre-disposed to smoking, to out right behavior control, political power, and taxes, especially as e-cigs became the popular method for smokers to quit and the perverse manner that tobacco control spread misinformation and bad science regarding e-cigs. Check out his blog for other great content:

Given the current limbo the vape industry faces from state laws and the FDA, this report should be an important piece in the bigger discussion of how to really help smokers. The reality is, majority of current vapers and former or current smokers, thus showing smokers have been looking for a way to stop smoking that actually works, pleasure principal. This report seems to fly in the fact of the current information anti-tobacco groups such as “Truth Initiative” and “Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids” that love to use words like “may” and “could be” when speaking about E-cigarettes, thus purposely misleading the public about the different between vaping and smoking, which literally could mean life and death for some people…… Do this day, I am still blown away how many (nonsmokers/vapers) think vaping can cause POP CORN LUNG!

Let’s hope this report has the impact it should on some of the agencies, including the FDA, that are still waging an ideological war on E-cigs.

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