UK public health experts have responded to an e-cigarette Q&A published on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website
The question and answer covered the harms associated with e-cigarettes, whether they help people quit smoking and the risks compared to combustible cigarettes.
In response to the question, ‘Do e-cigarettes [ENDS] cause lung damage?’ the WHO cited the EVALI outbreak that has caused 52 deaths in the US.
However, the CDC recently retracted its guidance advising people against using nicotine e-cigarettes.
Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:
“The US outbreak of lung injuries is due to contaminants in illegal marijuana cartridges and has nothing to do with nicotine vaping.
“There is clear evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
“The authors of this document should take responsibility for using blatant misinformation that is likely to to prevent smokers from switching to a much less risky alternative.”
The WHO implied that e-cigarettes could be more harmful that combustible tobacco.
It also said that ‘there is not enough evidence to support the use of these products for smoking cessation.’
Dr Nick Hopkinson, reader in Respiratory Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London, said:
“We know that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than smoking, because the toxic substances present in cigarette smoke are either completely absent, or present at much lower levels.
“Evidence from randomised controlled trials shows clearly that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit.”