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expert reaction to position statement on ecig use in youths

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies released a position statement on electronic cigarette use in youths.


Prof Mark Conner, Professor of Applied Social Psychology at the University of Leeds, said:

“In relation to the use of electronic cigarettes in children and adolescents, this report rightly focuses attention on the fact that electronic cigarettes are likely more harmful than no smoking rather than less harmful than cigarette smoking.  The latter comparison would be more relevant if we had strong evidence that electronic cigarettes were directly replacing cigarettes in children and adolescents.  Given that such evidence is lacking and that electronic cigarette use has been found to be associated with subsequent cigarette use, the report’s call for various regulations to help prevent electronic cigarette use in this age group is to be welcomed.”


Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“The document is called a ‘position statement’ and it does make the anti-vaping position of the authors clear.  Unfortunately the article not only misrepresents, but directly contradicts the actual evidence.  It claims that e-cigarettes are addictive to non-smokers, but the evidence shows that regular vaping among non-smokers is rare.  It claims that e-cigarettes lure teens to smoking, when in fact smoking in adolescents has been declining at unprecedented rates.

“If regulators acted on the recommendations made here and banned ecig flavourings, they would risk pushing some of the millions of vapers from the much safer alternative back to smoking, emphysema and lung cancer. This is a rather strange agenda for Respiratory Societies to promote.”


* ‘Electronic cigarette use in youths: a position statement of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies’ by Thomas W. Ferkol et al was published in the European Respiratory Journal on Thursday 31 May 2018.


Declared interests

Prof Hajek: No conflicts.

Prof Conner: I have no conflicts of interest to report.

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