May 31 is the annual World No Tobacco Day. This year ’s theme is “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from nicotine and tobacco use”. On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a theme report on e-cigarettes, saying that for adult smokers, switching to e-cigarettes can effectively reduce health risks. At the same time, national regulatory authorities should focus on preventing the use of e-cigarettes by young people. “It is recommended that the supervisory layer should fully consider the interests of all parties and find a regulatory balance point.”
The evidence is strong: electronic cigarettes can reduce harm
Scientists are still understanding the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. In the report, the WHO cited the National Academy of Sciences and the School of Medicine (hereinafter referred to as NASEM) evaluation of e-cigarettes. There is conclusive evidence: “To completely use e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes can reduce the user’s exposure to many toxic and carcinogens produced by the burning of cigarettes.”
There is a lot of evidence that: “The use of e-cigarettes will lead to nicotine dependence, but less dependence than cigarettes; e-cigarette smoke may increase the risk of some diseases in the long term, but the risk is lower than cigarettes; from cigarettes to e-cigarettes can improve the body The health of the organ. ”
The WHO specifically pointed out that the latest research shows that the simultaneous use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes will lead to higher levels of oxidative stress and increase the risk of cardiopulmonary health, so dual use is not recommended.
How to reduce youth usage? Reasonable supervision and scientific cognition
The WHO report shows that countries ’regulatory policies on e-cigarettes will largely affect the use of young people.
The chart data shows that in 2017, the proportion of young people in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom using e-cigarettes within a week was 0.8%, 1.1%, and 0.5%, respectively. However, a year later, the data of Canada and the United States have increased to varying degrees, but the United Kingdom has dropped to 0.4%.
The UK has a relatively mature regulatory system for e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are regarded as a tool to quit smoking and even enter hospitals.
Scientific cognition and use are the premise of reasonable supervision. In the report, the WHO also expended a lot of space on the scientific knowledge of e-cigarettes, with a view to the public having more knowledge about e-cigarettes.
Tests prove that the success rate of smoking cessation is twice that of traditional means
In the report, WHO cited an important research result published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019: the success rate of e-cigarette quitting smoking has almost doubled.
Study author Peter Hajek selected 886 adult smokers who participated in the British National Quit Service as test subjects, and these people have a clear need to quit smoking. He divided the participants into two groups, one group randomly assigned the smoking cessation products originally provided by the smoking cessation center, and one group provided electronic cigarettes, allowing them to choose their favorite flavors.
After a year of observation and tracking, the success rate of smoking cessation in the e-cigarette group was 18%, and that in the other group was 9.9%. The success rate of e-cigarette smoking cessation is almost twice that of traditional means.
WHO believes that there is currently no conclusion that the use of e-cigarettes will lead to an increase in smoking rates. Experimental results show that young people will increase the possibility of using cigarettes after using e-cigarettes, but WHO pointed out that there is no credible data to prove that there is a causal relationship between this association, and there are also studies that use e-cigarettes and cigarettes are independent of each other and do not interfere of.
Under reasonable regualtion, e-cigarettes will contribute to long-term tobacco control
Based on the above points, WHO makes recommendations (parts) to countries that plan to regulate e-cigarettes:
E-cigarette companies are required to provide medical product-level health declarations in their packaging, authorize their use after scientific review, and pay attention to any unexpected situations that occur after the market shifts to e-cigarettes;
Standardize sales channels (including online sales), strictly enforce laws regarding the minimum age of purchase, restrict minors and adults from obtaining tobacco products, and increase the difficulty and cost for smokers to switch from electronic cigarettes to cigarettes;
The adoption of standardized regulations minimizes the health risks of e-cigarette users:
According to safety production and waste disposal regulations, safely manufacture device and properly dispose of waste cartridges.
Specify the e liquid content and nicotine concentration, and prohibit the addition of carcinogens, mutagens and other harmful substances.
Children’s protective containers are used for the packaging of pods, and the product addiction is clearly indicated in the packaging.
The product uses a tracking function to track the evolution of consumption patterns. Monitor health or safety events in real time.
The report concluded that WHO, NASEM, and CDC (CDC) have realized the potential of e-cigarettes to improve the public health environment.
The key is the reasonable government regulation of e-cigarettes. The goal is to minimize the negative effects of the tobacco epidemic and continue to bring positive effects to public health. At the same time, non-smokers, especially young people, should be avoided from exposure to nicotine, and the interests of smokers should be fully considered to find a regulatory balance.
The report also specifically pointed out that in any context, if the government implements a strong tobacco control policy to reduce or even completely block the opportunities for e-cigarette users to switch to cigarettes, then the government’s long-term tobacco control vision will also benefit.