University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in Great Britain is second only to the UK Royal College of Physicians in regards to its public reputation for expert medical advice and statistics on public health. And in a recent video released following his December speech at the 2016 World Conference of Lung Cancer (WCLC) of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Sanjay Agrawal took issue with all of those diehard, anti-vaping advocates.
The UK has been enjoying a substantial decline in smoking rates in the past few years, falling to a new all-time low since 1974. Brits today only smoke about eleven cigarettes per day, according to the UK Office of National Statistics, and Dr. Agrawal attributes this substantial decrease largely to the popularity of vaping.
"For many patients, the best way to get them to stop (smoking) is to refer them to a stop smoking service. They can use tablets, patches, as well as behavioral support to stop smoking. There will be some patients though who have already had those medicines and who don’t feel confident to quit smoking that way – they’ve tried it and it didn’t work out for them. So many will want to use vaping or e-cigarettes to help quit."
Vaping vs. smoking: Use common sense, says Dr. Agrawal
American physicians are often confused as to how best to inform their smoking patients about the perceived benefits or dangers of vaping and e-cigs. In the United States, many political officials like the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy often imply that e-cigs are just as unhealthy as combustible cigarettes.
Meanwhile, many public health agencies like the UK’s Royal College of Physicians claim the exact opposite, citing scientific research that indicates vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking. Which “experts” should doctors believe? According to Dr. Sanjay Agrawal, the same problem exists in Great Britain.
"At the moment there are lots and lots of studies coming through. The Cochrane Review looked at e-cigarettes three or four years ago, and it showed (electronic cigarettes) help people in quitting, and it showed the rate of people quitting was greater for those using e-cigarettes rather than not. The short-term side effects were equivalent in placebo to nicotine e-cigarettes. They appear to be safe in the short term. I’m afraid we don’t have any long-term data because they are still a relatively new product."
Vaping technology is advancing at such an alarming rate that it is nearly impossible to conduct the high level of research required to prove once and for all that vaping is 100 percent safe. By the time the research is conducted, compiled, and released to the medical community, vaping technology will have progressed to a new, more advanced level.
In his recently released video discussing smoking vs. e-cigarettes, Agrawal suggests that medical physicians use basic, common sense. If doctors are waiting for proof-positive that vaping does not have any adverse side effects, then they may be waiting for a lifetime. And their smoking patients don’t have time to wait. More than 85 percent of all diagnoses of lung cancer have a direct link to smoking, says Agrawal.