The conclusion of the study suggests the main priority for the protection of public health is the dismissal of the combusted tobacco products, while ENDS should be adopted as a smoking cessation tool.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration recently stopped the advancement of over 55.000 vaping products arguing their safety and the need to protect the youngest from tobacco addiction. The latest study: “Clinical Pharmacology of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS): Implications for Benefits and Risks in the Promotion of the Combusted Tobacco Endgame” lead by Dr Neal L. Benowitzr, try to shed a light on a clinical point of view.
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)- such as e-cigarettes- are devices that deliver nicotine without the combustion of tobacco. Available evidence from clinical studies underlined that toxic combustion products are mainly responsible for the harmful effects of smoking. Thus, ENDS could promote smoking cessation while exposing users to a lower risk for their health. At this point, different governments, including the United States, posed heavy regulations on these devices. Behind the restrictions set up by governments, there is the still unknown long-term safety of these products and concerns regarding widespread use among youth.
The study tries to address both issues focusing on potential adverse effects of health, including concerns about ENDS use by youth. Based on the actual studies, the research underlined how it is hard to study the effects of ENDS in humans because it may not reflect long-term effects while suggesting that ENDS have lower toxicity compared to traditional cigarettes. Furthermore, epidemiology studies are hard to interpret because most adult ENDS users are either current or former smokers.
As described in the paper, while there has been a considerable uptake of vaping by youth in the United States, smoking prevalence has decreased, suggesting no overall gateway effect. However, scientists warned that the recent phenomenon of the use of e-cigarettes by youth cannot dismiss the chance that if youth prevalence of e-cigarette use increases and is sustained over time, the result might be an increase in the prevalence of combustible tobacco use.
The conclusion of the research suggests the main priority for the protection of public health is the dismissal of the combusted tobacco products, while ENDS should be adopted as a smoking cessation tool.
Although ENDS are not harmless, the study underlined they are most likely much less harmful than cigarette smoking. If smokers used ENDS to quit smoking, even if they continued to use ENDS, according to the scientists there would be an enormous benefit to public health.
Commenting on the approach of the FDA over ENDS the researchers advise the regulatory body to provide public education in support of its own “nicotine-focused framework for public health.” In addition to that, it suggests to supports the transition from cigarette smoking to ENDS while taking all the actions needed to avoid youth exposure to flavours.