Physician Practice

New report says e-cigarettes not a remedy for smoking cessation

Physician Practice Insider, February 7, 2017

For years, physicians have had little clear guidance for patients with questions about e-cigarettes and whether they’re a safer alternative to traditional smoking. That changed in December 2016 when the Surgeon General issued a report that said e-cigarettes represent a public health hazard to teens and young adults and should not be used by adults as part of smoking cessation programs.

The Surgeon General’s report went into great detail about how the vaping industry impacts teenagers and young adults, citing a 900% increase in vaping from 2011 to 2015, and an aggressive marketing campaign launched by tobacco companies to attract young users. Those facts alone have raised awareness among physicians about vaping and how it’s viewed by a new generation of nicotine users.

“In the past, I would simply ask my younger patients if they smoked cigarettes,” says James D. Munger, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a family physician in Duluth, Minnesota. “But now I follow up that question and ask them if they vape, and I’ve found that more patients do vape but don’t consider themselves to be smokers. So the Surgeon General’s report did raise my awareness about vaping among younger patients and how they look at it.”

The report did not completely rule out the possibility that e-cigarettes could prove to be a safer alternative to cigarettes someday, but noted that there is no current evidence of such.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the February 2017 issue.

Most Popular