Numerous studies keep indicating that despite not completely risk free, e-cigarettes are significantly safer than regular cigarettes. Earlier this year Public Health England (PHE), released findings from an e-cigarette review that was conducted by leading independent tobacco experts, and updated the organization’s 2015 vaping report.
This newly released report includes data related to vaping rates amongst adults and adolescents, public attitudes towards e-cigarettes, the impact on smoking cessation attempts, the levels of risk of e-cigarettes and also a review on Heat not Burn (HnB) products. It also reinforces the finding that vaping carries a fraction of the risk of smoking, 5% to be exact.
The risk of cancer recurrence could be reduced by switching to e-cigs
Sadly despite all this, a study presented by Dr. Jo Brett, a senior research fellow in the faculty of health and life sciences at Oxford Brookes University, UK, indicated that a number of health professionals are still reluctant to recommend the devices to cancer patients who smoke.
The researchers surveyed 506 health professionals across the UK, including 103 GPs, 102 oncologists, 100 cancer surgeons, 103 practice nurses and 99 cancer nurse specialists. A total of 29% said they would not recommend the safer alternatives, with more than half of those surveyed saying that they do not have enough information about the devices, and a quarter claiming that they do not know whether the devices are actually more harmful than cigarettes.
“These results suggest that there’s a lack of clear policy on e-cigarettes at the local level. They also suggest a lack of awareness of existing evidence and national policy on e-cigarettes among doctors and nurses. This is coupled with a lack of time and inadequate training on smoking cessation in general, and specifically on e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Brett.
“Giving patients a clear message that they can reduce harm by switching from smoking to using e-cigarettes may help them cut down or quit smoking tobacco. This could help patients by reducing the risk of cancer recurrence, a second primary cancer or other complications,” added the researcher.
The need to educate doctors and nurses about e-cigs
Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh and a member of the NCRI Cancer Conference Scientific Committee, Linda Bauld concurs. “Studies like this are valuable because they shed light on the real-world application of evidence and show how it is being translated in to practice.”
“Although we have evidence to show that e-cigarettes are a substantially less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco for cancer patients, this survey highlights that not all health professionals know this. They are unsure how to talk to cancer patients who smoke about e-cigarettes. It also suggests that doctors and nurses need better information and clearer policies to guide their discussions with patients,” she added.
In line with the above arguments, a 2017 study published on BMJ Tobacco Control, had clearly indicated that the cancer risk from vaping is approximately 1% that of smoking.
Read Further: Medical Press