Ecigarette criticisms ‘alarmist’?
Warnings over e-cigarettes are alarmist and increasing their use could save many lives according to researchers at University College London (UCL). In their view, for every million smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, more than 6,000 lives a year could be saved.
This contradicts the views expressed last week by the World Health Organization which called for e-cigarettes to be banned in public places and workplaces because they could increase the levels of some toxins and nicotine in the air. Also flagged up was the possibility that e-cigarettes might act as a gateway by which non-smokers might start smoking real cigarettes.
The UCL team disagree, saying that the numbers of non-smokers using e-cigarettes amounted to less than 1% of the population, according to the Smoking Toolkit study, a monthly survey of smokers in England. Prof Robert West added that even though some toxins were present in vapour from e-cigarettes the concentrations were very low. They concluded that some of the assumptions WHO had made were “misleading”.
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, has commented: “At the moment there are differences of opinion as to the potential benefits and/or long term harm from E-cigarettes and whether or not they should also be banned from public places. The debate seems set to run until there is sufficient data one way or the other. Clearly from the point of view of the NHS, anything which can reduce the numbers of people requiring medical attention as a result of smoking is to be welcomed as long as these patients aren’t replaced by others who develop, as yet unforeseen, health complications as a result of using E-cigarettes.”
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