Britain’s leading physician organization has concluded that the nicotine-delivery devices are more likely to benefit, rather than harm, public health, and urged cigarette smokers to switch to the products.
A report released by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) made it clear that the group views e-cigarettes as potentially game-changing smoking cessation devices.
The publication comes as the FDA finalizes plans widely expected to regulate e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes.
The report summarized the quickly evolving research on e-cigarette safety, concluding that the emergence of the devices “has generated a massive opportunity for a consumer — as well as healthcare — led revolution in the way that nicotine is used in society.”
The RCP writing committee found little evidence of e-cigarette use among nonsmokers, stating that, in the U.K., e-cigarette use is almost entirely limited to current or past conventional cigarette smokers — in youths as well as in adults. The report didn’t address concerns about e-cigarette use by teens as a gateway to smoking.
“Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever,” said John Britton, of the UK’s University of Nottingham, who led the committee that wrote the report. A summary by Britton and colleagues appeared in The BMJ.