A very recent and wide-ranging study in Britain has revealed how the technology is helping smokers to give up harmful tobacco even as the United States cracks down on rules governing e-cigarettes.
In the United States, the sales of e-cigarettes, cigars as well as pipe and hookah tobacco will now also be governed by the production and marketing rules for cigarettes and roll your own tobacco as they were extended on the former, in an announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week.
The new rules come into effect at the beginning of August 2017.
But in the U.K., half of the country’s electronic cigarette users, or “vapers”, have since given up smoking tobacco for the first time in the country, suggests a new report published there recently.
The most common reasons given by e-cigarette users for switching from tobacco were to help them stop smoking entirely and to save money, said Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, in a press release on Monday.
“This year’s ASH survey finds that around 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, for the first time a larger number than those who continue to smoke.”
“This is encouraging news as we know that vapers who continue to smoke continue to be exposed to cancer-causing substances. The message for the 1.3 million vapers who still smoke is that they need to go further and switch completely,” she said.
The study was encouraging but many still overestimated the risks associated with e-cigarettes, said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of public health charity ASH.
“The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes.
It’s very important smokers realize that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking,” she added.
By the year 2021, $32bn (£25bn) is estimated to be the worth of the global e-cigarette industry according to a December report.
And U.S. lawmakers must recognize that vaping can help smokers quit, one drug abuse researcher has said even as Washington clamps down on e-cigarettes.
“As a harm-reduction tool, e-cigarettes should be available, even promoted, to current smokers as an alternative to traditional cigarettes,” said Carrie Wade in an opinion piece published on “The Hill” website last Wednesday.
“History has proven that abstinence approaches do not work: Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates did not decline in states that emphasized an abstinence-only sex education curriculum and criminalization of heroin use did not stop overdose deaths,” she added.
Since as they are forced to go through a “costly” pre-market tobacco application (PMTA) process for every product they sell, many of the e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers are in the U.S. are expected now struggle to continue to do business, Wade wrote.
In the United States, every year, some more than 480,000 deaths are estimated to be due ot cigarette smoking, according to FDA figures.
(Adapted from CNBC)