On Friday, a few of the world’s leading health professionals gathered to discuss the growth of the electronic cigarette industry. It is typical in such conversations that a lot has been said about the details of a possible regulation and e-cigarettes have been grossly criticized, but this time it turned out a little different. In a non-anonymous vote, health experts unequivocally agreed that electronic cigarettes could save millions of lives, taking the view that regulation would do more harm than good.
Respected researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos said his work demonstrated the tremendous power of vaping by which smokers could finally get rid of tobacco products. After 19,500 smokers had already tried electronic cigarettes, he was astonished to learn that 81% of smokers got rid of their addiction by switching to e-cigarettes. They found it easy even during the first few months when they only used electronic cigarettes. This cannot be recorded with any of the other methods of smoking cessation.
Farsalinos wasn’t the only one who saw how effective electronic cigarettes are for you. Professor Jean-Francois Etter from Geneva University said that vaping is no longer just a trend, but an effective way to rid smokers of their addiction. He believes that regulation could even be harmful in the long run. “E-cigarettes and nicotine, as well as vaporizers, shouldn’t be overly regulated,” he announced. Regulations could “even reduce the number of smokers who dare to take the step to the new product”. Etter also fears that regulations absolutely do nothing to weaken the tobacco companies and could even lead to a large number of e-cigarette companies being driven to bankruptcy.
Family doctor Alan Blum even recommended that his patients should try e-cigarettes if they were having trouble quitting smoking. He believes that vaping is a far better option for his patients and that he would rather consume an e-cigarette than consume any pharmaceutical product that has both side effects and does not work well anyway.
There is a lot at stake in the electronic cigarette debate. Farsalinos estimates that millions of smokers would die if they were denied access to the life-saving technology of electronic cigarettes. If only three percent of smokers switched to electronic cigarettes, we could save about two million lives over the next 20 years.
While critics often argue that electronic cigarettes are still too new and therefore incapable of fully understanding the effects and potential consequences, experts disagree. Etter said that we already know enough about e-cigarettes to be able to say with certainty that it is a proven and, above all, working method of quitting smoking. Alternatives to smoking don’t always have to be 100% safe, because in the end they just have to be safer than cigarettes. “One then prefers to choose the lesser of the two evils”.
Health experts all agree that vaping is a smart choice for smokers. So why is the government still trying to introduce regulations that could endanger the entire industry?