Banning Electronic Cigarettes May Endanger Public Health

Two new studies, one published by Michael Siegel, a researcher at the Boston University School of Public Health, and the other by John Ayers, a doctoral candidate from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, suggest that a ban of e-cigarettes may actually be harmful to public health.

You might be thinking that this is old news – after all, e-cigarettes vaporize a nicotine substance rather than churning out toxic smoke – but the reasoning in these studies hardly touches upon the immediate health benefits of ecigarettes. Indeed, the main argument to be made here is not that people should be allowed to use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking, but that the millions of users who have already switched from tobacco cigarettes would have a high likelihood of regressing.

E-cigarettes are one of the most effective nicotine replacement therapies to date. While nicotine gums, patches, and lozenges enjoy a success rate of 12-18%, ecigarettes average out with a 31% success rate according to the most recent study. The FDA does not recognize or approve electronic cigarettes as a means to quit smoking, citing a lack of data on the subject, but the number of success stories and personal experiences are enough to keep the trend going.

Several states, such as New York and Ohio, have been considering a ban on e-cigarettes due to the lax regulations on selling to minors. With any luck these studies will make them think again, otherwise the 100,000+ e-cigarette users in those two states will have a rough road ahead of them.

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