WGBH Boston Public Radio recently interviewed Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health and Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. He is an expert in tobacco control, as he has 25 years of experience in the field. He has also spent two years working at the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control.
Hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan invited Dr. Siegel to discuss his research on electronic cigarettes. Dr. Siegel opened with an explanation of electronic cigarettes and how they differ from tobacco cigarettes. According to Siegel they are “not real cigarettes” as they do not contain tobacco and don’t produce smoke. Without smoke, there is no secondhand smoke. While working at CDC Dr. Siegel conducted research on secondhand smoke which solidifies the validity of this statement.
Siegel has reviewed all studies on electronic cigarettes and analyzed these products for safety and efficacy. In his research he came to two conclusions:
- Electronic cigarettes are much safer than tobacco cigarettes. There is “no question” that making the switch from tobacco cigarettes is going to provide major improvements to the users’ health and major reductions in risk.
- There seems to be evidence that e-cigs are at least as effective if not more so than other forms of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy).
When confronted with the issue of kids using electronic cigarettes Dr. Siegel is completely in favor of not allowing minors to use these products. However, he doesn’t see this as a considerable threat. He explains that it’s difficult to predict what will be popular with kids, but history shows that kids don’t like using fakes. They like the “real thing.”
Electronic cigarette marketers are careful not to make these devices attractive to youths. If the FDA sees teens using e-cigs they will most certainly have them immediately pulled from the market.
While Siegel supports banning sales to minors, he believes banning consenting adults from using electronic cigarettes in restaurants and in the workplace is “overkill” because there is no evidence e-cigs are causing any harm. Some people get “freaked out” by the vapor. According to Siegel however, the chemicals in the vapor are relatively benign and are about the same that you would find in a nicotine inhaler.
A huge part of the addiction to cigarettes is the oral action: the hand to mouth motion. Also seeing the “smoke” and feeling the throat hit are appealing features that can not be achieved with other forms of NRT.
When asked by the interviewers why support of electronic cigarettes is still not unanimous Dr. Siegel explained that many anti-smoking groups have an “ideological block.” The thinking here is if a behavior looks like smoking it must be harmful. In reality vaping is far safer than smoking and is a “viable option” to help smokers quit and keep them alive.
Dr. Siegel reminds us of the scientific facts: according to a clinical trial, of the smokers who completely stopped smoking and switched to electronic cigarettes more than a third quit e-cigs altogether. “There’s no question that the people who use this are people who want to quit or cutdown.” E-cigs are a potential “life saving alternative” to smoking. Smokers are not making the switch because it looks cool. “They’re doing it because they’re worried about dying.”
Source: To listen to the full story click here: http://www.wgbhnews.org/post/immigration-woes-cape-traffic-horror-stories-e-cigarettes-new-movie-roundup