For the first time in history, smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes are available that can make a profound difference for people who smoke.
Of course, the best choice for these individuals is to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. And for those who have never smoked, especially youth, the best option is never to start using any tobacco or nicotine product.
However, thanks to rapid advances in science and technology, better alternatives now exist for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke: Smoke-free products, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, can be a much better choice than cigarettes. The burning of tobacco produces the vast majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, and by eliminating the burning process—as is the case with smoke-free products—the levels of harmful chemicals generated can be significantly reduced compared with cigarette smoke. Whether a product reduces emissions of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke has to be scientifically assessed for each product.
But this opportunity for trajectory-shifting progress in public health is in jeopardy. In the U.S., the recent incidents of lung illness—which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, has linked largely to THC-containing vaping products—were conflated with the use of unadulterated, legal e-cigarettes. At the same time, media widely reported on the very valid concerns around the use of e-cigarettes by youth in the U.S. This combined coverage has left many men and women who smoke confused about smoke-free alternatives.
André Calantzopoulos – Fortune – January 16, 2020.