Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Gut Feelings Are the Deciding Factor in E-Cigarette Debates

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Gut Feelings Are the Deciding Factor in E-Cigarette Debates

Article excerpt

Data examining smoking and its related health issues seems to come in waves, from the addictive nature of nicotine, to the harms of second-hand smoke, to most recently, the idea that e-cigarettes are potential gateway drugs (.New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 4, 2014). The $3 billion e-cigarette market has certainly caught the attention of advocates and lawmakers. How the new nicotine-delivery product impacts smokers-positively or negatively-has been the topic of many recent discussions.

Let's boil down the various opinions within the debate:

1/ E-cigarettes help smokers quit.

2/ E-cigarettes reduce harm because they don't contain the toxins found in conventional cigarettes or in second-hand smoke.

3/ E-cigarettes quell cravings for smokers in places where smoking is not permitted.

4/ E-cigarettes create dual-use smoking habits rather than helping smokers quit.

5/ E-cigarette makers are enticing a new generation of young nicotine addicts with candy flavorings and clever marketing.

6/ E-cigarettes are a gateway to marijuana and cocaine use.

You'll need to decide where you position yourself and your organization on the debate because many of your patients are probably using or considering e-cigarettes. Do your research before you decide, but unfortunately, you might find more opinion than trial data to support your position. Researchers tend to agree that more investigation is needed. Even peer-reviewed studies comparing e-cigarettes against patches and oral drug treatments for cessation seem to be inconclusive. …

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