• April 5, 2020

More support needed

The US-based Consumer Choice Center (CCC) yesterday applauded the American Cancer Society’s acknowledgement that electronic cigarettes ‘can appropriately help smokers quit’.

In a press note, the CCC said that ACS, in a clinical recommendation, had tepidly endorsed e-cigarettes in making the statement:

“Many smokers choose to quit smoking without the assistance of a clinician and some opt to use e-cigarettes to accomplish this goal. The ACS recommends that clinicians support all attempts to quit the use of combustible tobacco and work with smokers to eventually stop using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Some smokers, despite firm clinician advice, will not attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and will not use FDA approved cessation medications.  These individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.”  

CCC Senior Fellow Jeff Stier (pictured) was quoted as saying that the ACS had taken a step in the right direction by recognizing this important harm-reduction method.

‘I continue to call on the American Heart Association and other major health organizations to reverse course and support smokers who wish to quit smoking with the use of e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco, or smokeless tobacco, all of which are significantly less harmful than smoking,’ said Stier.

In a June 2016 piece for Morning Consult, Stier had called out the ACS by name for failing to support smokers – and their healthcare providers – by not only refusing to endorse the use of e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking but for actively distorting the science to oppose it.

‘It’s no wonder that American doctors are doing a poor job helping their addicted patients make better decisions about how to get nicotine if they can’t or aren’t ready to get off of it completely,’ said Stier. ‘Public health groups in the US have been indoctrinating providers with misinformation.’

In contrast, the press note said; in the UK the government had been constantly evaluating e-cigarette use. Just this month, Public Health England had issued an update to its landmark 2015 review where it concluded: “that e-cigarettes are around 95 percent safer than smoked tobacco and they can help smokers to quit”.

‘Physician specialty groups must do a better job of educating their members and standardizing harm reduction advice,’ the press note said. ‘There’s barely a body part or function which isn’t compromised by smoking. From medical schools to credentialing organizations, the entire American medical establishment needs to kick the habit of providing politically correct quit-smoking advice and replace it with up-to-date medically validated harm reduction advice. They should do so as if their patients’ lives depend on it.’