The latest research from Georgetown University Medical Center in the United States, indicates that up to 6.6 million early deaths could be avoided across the country, if smokers had to switch to e-cigarettes.
In Australia e-cigarettes may be purchased normally, however nicotine-containing e-liquids are illegal. In August 2016, a number of health advocates submitted proposals to local regulator Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), to remove nicotine concentrations of below 3.6% from the Poisons Standard.
However, last April, the TGA made its final decision to uphold the ban, citing evidence that e-cigarette use causes nicotine addiction and can lead to teenagers becoming hooked on tobacco.
6.6 million lives could be saved
“Any other consumer product that kills up to two-thirds of its long-term users remaining legal is unimaginable,” said Dr Hefler, referring to the fact that while nicotine for e-cigarettes is banned, regular cigarettes remain legal and readily available to purchase.
“Even if the political will had existed for a sales ban, until recently, no products could match the nicotine delivery efficiency of combustible tobacco with substantially less harm, rendering a sales ban a non-viable option due to the risk of a black market,” she added about e-cigarettes.
According to the data compiled by the US study, even in the most pessimistic scenario, (that is, if e-cigarettes had to turn out being more harmful than current data shows), if all smokers had to switch to e-cigarettes, 1.6 million people could avoid premature death. On the other hand, an astounding 6.6 million former smokers would live longer in the best case scenario.
E-cigarettes have the greatest potential in helping smokers quit
Dr Hefler insisted that combustible tobacco is by far the most harmful of all nicotine products. “E-cigarettes, and more recently heat-not-burn tobacco products, most closely mimic, and therefore have the greatest potential to displace combustible tobacco,” she said, referring to the hand to mouth motion required for vaping, which makes the transition from smoking to not smoking smoother for smokers. “While they are not harmless they are almost certainly lower risk than cigarettes for current smokers,” she concluded.
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