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The Cochran Review: E-cigarettes help smokers quit

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The independent, non-profit group The Cochran Review comprised of an international team of the world’s top scientists from over 130 countries is now publicly encouraging all nations to promote e-cigarettes as a stop smoking aid. Although these highly regarded scientists agree that more research is needed, they also agree that basic common sense should lead most national governments to conclude that the dangers of conventional tobacco smoking far outweigh those off vaping by as much as 95%.

The debate here in the United States seems to focus around the notion that e-cigs are a gateway to smoking. Federal agencies like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also publicly state that current research does not indicate whether electronic cigarettes are as safe as other more traditional stop smoking aids like “the patch” or nicotine gum. The Cochran Review believes this doesn’t really matter.

"In my view, smokers struggling to stop should try all possible methods, including electronic cigarettes, to help them to do so."

-Ann McNeill, professor of Tobacco Addiction at King's College London.

The Cochran Review encourages e-cig use as a stop smoking aid

According to the report, there is no amount of scientific research that can prove beyond a 100% certainty that e-cigarettes are safe for public health. But there is enough data available that proves conventional smoking is infinitely more deadly and causes any number of health concerns, including several forms of cancer, emphysema, and other respiratory ailments. If government agencies like the CDC and the FDA are waiting for unequivocal proof that e-cigs are safer than smoking, then they need to only look to the reams of scientific research already available from numerous international studies already in existence.

"We are encouraged to find many studies are now under way, particularly as electronic cigarettes are an evolving technology…In terms of quitting, these can't provide the same information we get from randomized controlled trials, but they contribute further information on the side-effects of using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking…”

-Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, member of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group

The Cochran Review also makes clear that electronic cigarettes are not a guaranteed method to stop smoking, but neither are nicotine gum and other nicotine replacement therapies. In fact, one member of The Cochran Review from University College London openly states that the potential to “relapse at some point in the future” is likely for up to two-third of e-cig users. However, these statistics are also comparable to those of other stop smoking alternatives.

The group also states that "a 40-year-old smoker who quits permanently can expect to gain nine life years compared with a continuing smoker." E-cigs should be encouraged rather than demonized by national government agencies. It’s only basic common sense. 

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