E-Cigarettes as a Harm Reduction Strategy for Cigarette Smokers
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Session presented on Sunday, July 26, 2015: Cigarette smoking carries a high risk for many health problems. Indeed, tobacco cigarette smoking has been classified by the World Health Organization as a disease in itself. Nicotine is strongly addictive which makes quitting tobacco smoking difficult. Electronic inhaled nicotine delivery devices, such as e-cigarettes, introduce nicotine vapors into the respiratory system. These devices use liquid nicotine which is extracted from the tobacco plant. In recent years, the prevalence of use has increased dramatically without an adequate understanding of the possible risks to health. Most recently, the use of e-cigarettes has been supported by some as an acceptable and promotable means of cigarette smoking cessation as the nicotine is delivered without the carcinogens present in the tobacco smoke. The supporters maintain the risk to health by e-cigarettes is small to none and that harm reduction, rather than elimination, is a realistic approach to achieving smoking cessation. The purpose of this presentation is to: 1. Describe the most common electronic nicotine inhalation devices, composition of inhaled vapors, patterns of use and current marketing and sales trends. 2. Explore the scientific underpinnings of harm reduction. Consider legal and ethical quandaries related to harm reduction. 3. Provide an overview of health risks and burden to society of cigarette smoking. Summarize potential risks of e-cigarette use as expressed in current literature. 4. Discuss current and impending laws and regulations including global concerns such as expressed by the World Health Organization, related to electronic nicotine delivery devices. Express dichotomies in thoughts in relation to harm reduction and regulation of e-cigarettes. 5. Provide a critical appraisal of recent research studies on the use of e-cigarettes as a means of harm reduction for those who smoke cigarettes. 6. Summarize the evidence, providing conclusions and identification of areas of needed research. Provoke discussion among participants. Note: As the information about the use of e-cigarettes is rapidly unfolding, this presentation will be updated immediately prior to presentation to include the most current information available. This will include risk analysis of using e-cigarettes and applications to smoking cessation.