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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently republished a news article about a favorable British study of e-cigarettes, adding to the debate over these still-unregulated nicotine delivery devices. If e-cigarettes genuinely help smokers quit and don’t encourage smoking initiation, they should be seen as a welcome but regulated alternative to cigarettes. Regulation includes not permitting e-cigarette use in smoke-free areas to ensure continued compliance with smoke-free air laws.
Please also see an earlier blog about the glamorization of e-cigarettes, reminiscent of the former promotion of regular cigarettes: 2013-07-12 P-D: New health concern about e-cigarettes?
Also, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Marie French, wrote a May 12, 2014, article titled Measure barring minors from e-cigarette purchases sent to Missouri governor in which Rep. Jill Schupp reportedly expressed concerns about the bill, SB 841:Rep. Jill Schupp (D), Creve Coeur, said on the House floor Monday that this definition and exemption from regulations applying to tobacco products could limit the ability of the FDA to impose future regulations on e-cigarettes. She called it a “pre-emptive strike” against the FDA’s authority.
“Even though the FDA did come out with regulations that increase the taxes on e-cigarette products we need to leave the door open,” Schupp said. “We know it takes more than just not selling these products to 18 year olds to stop young people from smoking.”
Recently, the Greene County Medical Society called on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to veto SB 841. A link to their letter is below, courtesy of Jim Blaine, MD, followed by the e-cigarettes article.
Study: E-cigarettes help smokers quit
May 22, 2014 2:00 pm • Abby Phillip
The Washington Post
People who used e-cigarettes to try to quit smoking were significantly more likely to succeed than those who bought over-the-counter cessation aids or tried to go cold turkey, according to British researchers.
The study — of 5,863 adults who wanted to stop smoking — was conducted by University College London researchers and is scheduled to be published in the journal Addiction on Wednesday.
Twenty percent of those who used e-cigarettes reported they had quit smoking tobacco and were still off cigarettes at the time the survey was taken. Ten percent of those who used nicotine patches or gums said they had quit, and about 15 percent of those who used nothing said they stopped smoking.
“The potential public health aspect to e-cigarettes is they seem to tap into a widespread appeal that these types of cessation methods have never managed to do,” Jamie Brown, one of the study’s authors, said in an interview Tuesday. “In so far as e-cigarettes helped people to stop, then the fact that they are so widely used could suggest that it would have a quite positive public health effect.”
About 42 million Americans smoke tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 68 percent are trying to quit.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine-laced liquid that produces an inhaled vapor. Still, they are lightly regulated in the United States, their nicotine levels vary and there have been some reports of carcinogens present in the vapor.
E-cigarettes appear to be better at helping people quit because they are a novel way of consuming nicotine. “Vaping” provides a similar “sensory experience” to smoking, Brown said.
Letter from Greene County Medical Society to Gov. Nixon, dated June 3, 2014: