Dr. Riccardo Polosa and MEP Giovanni La Via both believe that e-cigarettes are a valuable harm reduction tool
Smoking rates have been plummeting for the last 30 years, but in spite of that smoking-related diseases are still the leading cause of preventable death in the world. With that being the case, it’s as important as ever that we work to understand the best ways to mitigate the effect of smoking on our society. Part of that includes using the best tools we have at our disposal to help get smokers off cigarettes for good.
In Parliament Magazine, two stories were recently published that indicate support for significant changes to public health that promote e-cigarettes over smoking. Dr. Riccardo Polosa, a leading expert on the long-term effects of e-cigarette use, and Giovanni La Via, a member of European Parliament, both speak about how this widespread issue is a matter of public health. If the EU decides to change policies and promote the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative for smokers, it could improve the longevity and quality of life for countless people.
Dr. Riccardo Polosa
Dr. Riccardo Polosa is the Director of the Institute for Internal and Emergency Medicine at the University of Catania; He is also the Chief Scientific advisor to the Italian Anti-Smoking League (the L.I.A.F.). Dr. Polosa has also worked for over a decade on researching e-cigarettes and vaping products. Recently he published a study that took place over three and a half years and focused on the effects of e-cigarettes. The groundbreaking conclusion of the study found that there were no notable signs of injury for people who had never smoked and now partook in vaping, even with heavy usage.
He’s also worked with world-renowned tobacco control expert, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos on a couple vaping studies. One study saw them review most of the currently available research on vaping and found that available information shows that vaping presents an opportunity to reduce smokers exposure to harm dramatically. Polosa feels that too many studies and tests exaggerate results by referencing the furthest extremes of the products they are testing. Studies, he believes, should be done realistically, testing practical circumstances to get valid results and not hyperbolic ones that would never reasonably match up with real-world events.
Giovanni La Via
A member of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety Committee, Giovanni La Via’s article focuses on technology and how regulations should not prohibit the innovation of e-cigarettes and the benefits they offer. La Via feels, much like Dr. Polosa, that fighting the exaggerated misinformation regarding e-cigarettes is vital.
La Via says that e-cigarettes and vaping are a game changer for public health, on par with vaccines and birth control. He does not want to let misinformation and fear of innovation effect regulations. Furthermore, he does not want the rules to limit the benefits these products give consumers in the fight against tobacco. La Via feels that the EU should follow the examples of other countries, like the UK, and make safer vaping products more accessible to the public along with accurate information. According to La via:
”It is time for the EU to take the lead on this issue and set out a comprehensive health strategy based on the latest scientific evidence on e-cigarettes in order to take full advantage of the opportunity they present in helping people quit smoking, thereby improving their quality of life and saving millions of lives.”
It’s clear to anyone paying attention that smoking remains one of the most significant public health concerns we currently face. Millions of people die every year from diseases that could have been prevented. With that being the case, it’s imperative for us to support any tools we have that can reduce the risk. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes are more than a little safer than smoking. Public Health England, England’s federal health agency, famously reported in 2015 that vaping was at least 95% safer than smoking. Then just last fall, a report in the Journal of Aerosol Science concluded that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is over 57,000 times lower than a smoker.
Not only are they helping reduce exposure to harm, but vaping has also been shown to be one of the best smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal. Just ask any vaper, and they’ll likely tell you that their success in quitting smoking was directly related to picking up vaping. The research agrees as a study from last year out of the University of Louisville found that vaping was actually more successful at getting smokers to quit than any other method tested, including prescription drugs. Given all this information, it’s clear that we must support the use of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool if we ever hope to end the smoking epidemic.
Do you think it’s essential for public health officials and experts to come out in support of vaping? Do you believe that vaping is a significant key to quitting smoking? How can we get more support for vaping in the general public? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.