American Cancer Society issues support of vapor

American Cancer Society issues support of vapor

February 21, 2018

In a position statement issued today, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says that for smokers who will not or cannot quit smoking using other methods, switching to the exclusive use of electronic cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.

Although the support given to the use of e-cigarettes is much qualified; coming as it does from the ACS, it is nevertheless hugely significant.

The position statement on e-cigarettes was approved by the ACS’ board of directors and will be used to guide the society’s tobacco control and cessation efforts in relation to these products.

Under the heading, Scientific Summary, the statement said in part that, based on currently available evidence, using current-generation e-cigarettes was less harmful than was smoking cigarettes, but that the health effects of long-term use were not known.

‘The … ACS recognizes our responsibility to closely monitor and synthesize scientific knowledge about the effects of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and any new products derived from tobacco,’ the statement said. ‘As new evidence emerges, the ACS will promptly report these findings to policy makers, the public and clinicians.’

The statement, under the heading, Clinical Recommendations, went on to say that the ACS had always supported smokers who were considering quitting, no matter what approach they used; there was nothing more important that they could do for their health.

‘To help smokers quit, the ACS recommends that clinicians advise their patients to use FDA-approved cessation aids that have been proven to support successful quit attempts,’ the statement said. ‘Many smokers choose to quit smoking without the assistance of a clinician and some opt to use e-cigarettes to accomplish this goal. The ACS recommends that clinicians support all attempts to quit the use of combustible tobacco and work with smokers to eventually stop using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.

‘Some smokers, despite firm clinician advice, will not attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and will not use FDA approved cessation mediations. These individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products. Of course, these individuals should be regularly advised to completely quit using all tobacco products.

‘The ACS strongly discourages the concurrent (or “dual”) use of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, a behavior that is far more detrimental to a person’s health compared to the substantial health benefit of quitting smoking.’

Under the heading, Policy Recommendations, the statement said that the ACS strongly recommended that every effort be made to prevent the initiation of e-cigarettes by youth. ‘The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth is unsafe and can harm brain development,’ the statement said. ‘Furthermore, evidence indicates that young e-cigarette users are at increased risk for both starting to smoke and becoming long-term users of combustible tobacco products.

‘The ACS encourages the FDA to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to the full extent of its authority, and to determine the absolute and relative harms of each product. The FDA should assess whether e-cigarettes help to reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, and the impact of marketing of e-cigarettes on consumer perceptions and behavior.

‘Any related regulatory regime should include post-marketing surveillance to monitor the long-term effects of these products and ensure the FDA’s actions have the intended health outcome of significantly reducing disease and death.’

The full statement is at:

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