As electronic cigarettes face criticism and threats of regulation around the world, a handful of academic leaders are stepping up to debunk the myths and offer real scientific facts about e-cigs. These brave researchers are doing their best to protect public health and they are willing to face professional and personal criticism in order to raise awareness that e-cigarettes are indeed working as an effective alternative for smokers.
The CDC estimates that 443,000 people die from smoking each year and another 8.6 million live with serious illnesses directly related to cigarette smoking. These are alarming numbers that give further proof that we must take action now to win the fight against tobacco. Let’s meet the five courageous scientists that could save 443,000 American lives this year with their fight to defend electronic cigarettes.
1# Jean Francois Etter
Jean Francois Etter holds a PhD in political science. He currently works as a professor of public health at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He is also one of the world’s most renowned experts on tobacco addiction. After nearly two decades of research on smoking prevention, Dr. Etter came to the conclusion that e-cigarettes are helpful to smokers because they ultimately lead to smoking cessation. As a result, he wrote The Electronic Cigarette: An Alternative to Tobacco and published it in 2013.
Dr. Etter has published more than 120 research reports about smoking cessation and tobacco use. His research on e-cigarettes has been ground breaking and has been essential for e-cig companies that work so hard to defend their products against critics.
E-Cigs Help Smokers Quit and Prevent Relapse – In a longtitudal study of electronic cigarette users, Dr. Etter discovered that e-cigs may help current smokers stop using tobacco. He also found that e-cigs are effective to prevent smoking relapses.
Smokers Believe E-Cigarettes Can Help Them Quit – After surveying 81 e-cigs users, Dr. Etter found that the almost all (95%) vapers claimed that e-cigs had been helpful in their attempts to stop smoking.
E-Liquids Have Nicotine Content Consistent With Labeling – Despite allegations that nicotine content is highly varied in e-liquids, Dr. Etter found that e-liquids had nicotine content that was consistent with the amounts on the label. After testing for nicotine and contaminants in e-liquids, he detected some impurities in select brands, but they were below the level that could cause harm to users.
“Even if there are long-term vapers, this is not a problem, as long as they quit smoking. The problem is combusted tobacco, not nicotine. At the dosage used by vapers or users of nicotine gums or patches, nicotine is not toxic. Long term vaping is not a public health problem; not any more than long term use of nicotine gums.”
2# Konstantinos E. Farsalinos
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is a highly recognized cardiologist from Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Greece. He has done extensive research on how electronic cigarettes impact cardiovascular health. As a result, he uncovered some crucial information that could save thousands of lives in the fight against tobacco-related death.
E-Cigs Have No Acute Adverse Impact on Heart Function – After studying how electronic cigarettes would affect cardiac function, Dr. Farsalinos found that vaping had no acute or significant impact on the heart.
Electronic Cigarettes Do Not Cause Cell Damage or Death – After studying the cytotoxic impact of 21 distinct brands of electronic cigarettes, Dr. Farsalinos found that there was no evidence of cell damage or death related to vaping.
Nicotine Levels Play a Critical Role in Smoking Cessation with E-Cigs – While opponents of electronic cigarettes argue that high nicotine levels present very real threats to people using e-cigs, Dr. Farsalinos found that having varied nicotine levels was essential if smokers were going to successfully stop smoking with the help of e-cigs.
E-Liquid Flavors are Very Important for Smoking Cessation – Critics have often argued that offering varied e-liquid flavorings would lead to a rise in young people using e-cigarettes. Dr. Farsalinos conducted surveys among current vapers and found that flavors are advantageous in helping smokers quit using tobacco. He concluded that maintaining availability of flavors was essential for successful smoking cessation.
“This industry is already an innovation by itself. It is the only product that was ever developed that looks so much like smoking but has so much lower toxic chemicals released from it compared to smoke. So that is innovation by itself.”
“It is very important that some regulation must be implemented. But we should make sure this regulation should not kill the product and the potential of this product to serve as a smoking substitute… Regulation must be fair and based on common sense. It must be based on science.”
3# Maciej L. Goniewicz
Dr. Maciej Goniewicz is an oncologist and cancer researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. In 2013, he was appointed as an Assistant Member of the Department of Health Behavior and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. During his career, Dr. Goniewicz has written more than 40 scientific studies about tobacco control. To date, his work is available in publications such as Tobacco Research, Critical Care Medicine, Chemical Research in Toxicology, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
E-Cigs Produce Less Nicotine Exposure Than Cigarettes – Dr. Goniewicz studied nicotine exposure from electronic cigarettes compared to nicotine exposure from tobacco cigarettes. He found that using the same amount of puffs, smokers were exposed to less nicotine with e-cigs than with analog cigarettes.
Secondhand Vapor Contains Nicotine, But No Other Tobacco Related Toxins – In a study of involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke, Dr. Goniewicz found that e-cig vapor contained nicotine, but no other toxins related to tobacco combustion products.
“Nicotine is not very dangerous, and it’s very unlikely someone will overdose on the nicotine in electronic cigarettes by inhaling the vapor.” (Source)
4# David John Nutt
Dr. David Nutt is a British psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist. He specializes in research of pharmaceuticals that impact the brain, specifically in areas of addiction and anxiety. Prior to 2009, he served as a professor at the University of Bristol. Then he became the Neuropsychopharmacology Chair at Imperial College in London. Dr. Nutt was formerly a member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines and he served as President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
He has been a very vocal supporter of electronic cigarettes, even claiming that e-cigs could be the most important health advance since vaccinations.
E-Cigs are Less Likely to Cause Harm Than Cigarettes – Dr. Nutt released a briefing along with the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD), stating that electronic cigarettes were likely to cause much less harm than analog cigarettes.
“These electronic cigarettes should not be controlled as medicines – they should be controlled more lightly than cigarettes in order to encourage people to switch.”
“Electronic cigarettes could be the greatest health advance since vaccinations.”
“The results of this briefing are striking: not only are cigarettes judged to be by far the most harmful form of tobacco, e-cigarettes are ranked as similar in harm to nicotine patches. Given the successes so far with their use as a smoking cessation device, it would seem not only illogical but irresponsible to not consider how e-cigarettes might fit in the fight against tobacco-related deaths.”
5# Riccardo Polosa
Dr. Riccardo Polosa is the director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology at the University of Catania in Italy. He is recognized around the world for his leadership in the field of airway challenges. He has played a vital role as the Clinical Director of the Aspirex development program and he currently serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Duska Therapeutics. He has done extensive research on electronic cigarettes and maintains that they are extremely important in the fight against tobacco related deaths.
E-Cigs Help Smokers Quit, Even When They Don’t Want To – In a year-long study of 300 heavy smokers, Dr. Polosa found that e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation, even among those with no intention to quit. During the study, he found that 70 percent of the smokers that quit also eventually stopped using e-cigarettes. This gave vital evidence that e-cigs are a great transitional tool to aid smokers in kicking the habit.
Electronic Cigarettes Help Schizophrenic Patients Quit Smoking Without Side Effects – While most smoking cessation tools exacerbate psychosis in schizophrenic patients, Dr. Polosa found that e-cigarettes were helpful with no harmful side effects.
Using E-Cigs Substantially Reduces Cigarette Consumption – After studying behavior among 40 regular smokers unwilling to quit, Dr. Polosa found that e-cigarettes cause substantial smoking reduction and abstinence without any adverse side effects.
“The status quo in smoking cessation presents smokers with just two unpleasant alternatives: quit or die. But, there is a third choice for smokers: switching to the e-cig. The use of e-cig allows smokers to introduce nicotine from a much safer source than a lit cigarette and to keep the gestures associated with smoking. Switching to the e-cig may increase smokers’ confidence in making a more important change in their lifestyle – quitting.” (Source)
These five courageous medical researchers are taking action to raise awareness that electronic cigarettes provide substantial benefits to smokers. We applaud their tireless efforts to show the world that e-cigs are not the enemy and we look forward to the discoveries they will undoubtedly make in the future.