With all of the controversy surrounding electronic cigarettes, more and more members of the public and even health professionals are standing up to have their say. While there are many who believe that the electronic cigarette is nothing more than a more harmful substitute to a deadly habit, there are also a handful of advocates who want their voice to be heard. Take Professor David Nutt, for example.
Professor Nutt was interviewed on BBC radio 5 by Shelagh Fogarty. When asked about the use of electronic cigarettes, he replied saying, “cigarettes kill 6 million people a year in the world which is more than malaria, aids, tuberculosis and meningitis put together and if everyone switched to electronic cigarettes, this will be the greatest health advance probably since vaccinations. I’m totally in favour of this type of harm reduction approach.”
He was then asked what he thinks we do know about electronic cigarettes so far. He commented, “Well we know that nicotine isn’t a problem to health in the long-term. Yes people become addicted to nicotine, but it doesn’t cause any major problems and we’ve indeed had some suggestion that it may have some cognitive benefit in people with old age and schizophrenia.”
“There are no obvious long-term harm risks in the nicotine by itself. Almost all the risks of smoking are in the tobacco which is burnt to generate the nicotine. Whatever contaminants people might get in current preparation of nicotine they’re going to be much less carcinogenic than smoking cigarettes.”
He added, “I would obviously want to minimise harm as much as possible. The key thing is to make sure that the regulations which should not impede the use.”
He also said that he believes that electronic cigarettes should not be controlled as medicines and instead should be controlled more lightly than cigarettes. This way it will encourage people to switch.
If you’d like to hear the full version of Professor David Nutt’s interview, please click here.
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