The professional nursing group named Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia Incorporated (DANA) is making news by officially endorsing vaping for its many health benefits. The Australian medical organization is basing its endorsement on several recent scientific studies, including one published by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK which suggests that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking.
In a recently published press release, DANA officials also cite a second 2017 vaping study by Lorillard scientists which claims that the smoke from combustible cigarettes is up to 1,500 time more carcinogenic than the vapor from electronic cigarettes. While US public health agencies like the FDA and the CDC have access to the same European research, they still refuse to publicly endorse vaping as a significantly safer alternative to smoking.
DANA nursing group’s views on vaping and public health
The DANA organization is comprised of nursing professionals and experts in substance abuse recovery. Just like in the United States and nearly every other nation on the planet, Australia is experiencing an increase in opioid addiction rates and other forms of chemical dependency. And just like in the US, patients entering recovery are often more prone to use smoking as a form of substitution therapy to help them overcome their chemical addictions. Rather than popping a pill or taking a drink of an alcoholic beverage, the newly recovered tend to puff on a cigarette instead.
Substitution therapy works, but both nurses and doctors have difficulty when counseling their patients on the dangers of smoking. Yes, smoking is extremely toxic, but chemical addiction is far more deadly. So, medical professionals often tend to look the other way when patients light up. Vaping may be just the smoking alternative that the Aussie nursing organization has been looking for, according to a DANA position statement from last month.
“People with drug and alcohol dependence have high smoking rates and greater difficulty quitting than other smokers. They are more likely to die from a tobacco-related disease than from their primary drug problem. Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid solution, which may or may not contain nicotine into a vapour for inhalation, simulating the behavioural and sensory aspects of smoking, and they are currently seen as a legitimate form of tobacco harm reduction. Nurses have an important role in asking people about their smoking, assessing the risk of tobacco use, advising about the risks, assisting smokers to stop or reduce their tobacco consumption, and arranging further support as appropriate.”
The DANA organization is not alone in its official endorsement of electronic cigarettes. Even though the sales of vaping products is currently illegal in Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has also issued a similar endorsement of vaping in July 2017.