• August 12, 2020

Lancet says yes and no to e-cigarettes

The medical journal The Lancet is undecided on electronic cigarettes.

On Sept. 14, it wrote that as a result of “safety fears,” the EU and the U.K. were planning to regulate electronic cigarettes as they would a medicine. “On the one hand, excessive regulation could marginalise e-cigarettes in favour of conventional cigarettes,” the Lancet piece said. “On the other hand, deficient regulation might contribute to the expansion of the e-cigarette market—in which tobacco companies have a substantial stake—potentially re-normalizing smoking habits and negating years of intense anti-tobacco campaigning.

“Amid disagreements between public health experts and uncertainty about the long-term efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes, should we stand back and wait for robust results before adopting a formal public health stance? Harm reduction should be our guiding principle, but the prospect of colluding with one of the industries most devastating to health presents a moral quandary that needs to be addressed through strong public and professional engagement.”

According to generally accepted figures, on Sept. 14, 16,438 would have died prematurely as the result of using tobacco, almost all of them because they smoked cigarettes.