In order to put the National Academy of Medicine into the context of vaping, it is important to notice that the institution was founded in 1731 from the former Royal Academy of Surgery. It became part of the Royal Academy of Medicine in 1820. The Academy obtained its final name in 1947 and has in its historical membership 11 laureates of the Nobel Prize.
“E-cigarette much more valuable than tobacco cigarette”
The ANM has been recognizing the value of the e-cigarette for many years but has nevertheless commended additional studies. In October 2013, it declared that the personal vaporizer was an alternative choice to the classical cigarette because it contains not tar nor solid particles, what was acted in the report published in March 2015.
“The Academy of Medicine voted a report that is very clear. The electronic cigarette is much more valuable than the tobacco cigarette that kills half of its consumers, one can hardly find a worse candidate for a regular consumer product. The e-cigarette contains no tar and doesn’t burn so it does not produce carbon dioxide” repeated Gérard Dubois during the 1st Vape Summit.
E-cigarette turns tobacco “uncool”
The Academy was making a reservation in respect of “youth initiation to nicotine”, fearing of a potential gateway to smoking. The study published by Paris Sans Tabac, discussed during the meeting, lifted the ANM’s last doubts regarding the role e-cigarette can play in tobacco harm reduction. “We were fearing that e-cigarette could play a role in initiation to tobacco among young people. Clearly, the studies carried out in France and in England show the opposite. A study on Parisian pupils demonstrates that it is the opposite. One can interpret the situation as if the e-cigarette turned tobacco uncool” said Gérard Dubois.
And to the question of promoting e-cigarette as a tobacco harm reduction help, the professor of medicine states that “It is an interesting product for smokers looking for solutions to stop. E-cigarette demonstrated its potential in smoking cessation. And, as a last advice, it is worth quitting smoking altogether to benefit from health gains.”
Advertisement limited to the points-of-sale
The ANM’s position on advertisement is rather objective. “It must be available on the points-of-sale, it seems sufficient” says Gérard Dubois. “We are not in favor of large scale advertisement in the media, what is happening now and sounds inacceptable to us”, he adds, aimed at products advertised by Big Tobacco companies.
With regards to forums and reviewers, Gérard Dubois is more nuanced: “I have no clear answer on this subject. For me, a advertisement is an information misguided for money. In contrast, exchanges between consumers do not seem to be a problem”.
Vaping in public places: “A wrong signal to smokers”
The ban on vaping in public places is one of the clearest messages carried by the ANM. “We believe that allowing vaping in public places is a wrong signal sent to smokers because many vaping products look like tobacco products, principally those developed by the tobacco industry. The smoker, at least in France, is awaiting for any positive sign to start smoking again where it is forbidden. We see no reason why to come back on this decision even if some argue that it is ‘sending back vapers alongside smokers‘“. It is, by the way, one of the three points on which stakeholders did not find a consensus.