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Point and Counterpoint |

COUNTERPOINT: Does the Risk of Electronic Cigarettes Exceed Potential Benefits? NoRisk of E-Cigs Higher Than Benefits? No

Holly R. Middlekauff, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Holly R. Middlekauff, MD, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10833 LeConte Ave, CHS A2-237, Los Angeles, CA 90095; e-mail: hmiddlekauff@mednet.ucla.edu


FUNDING/SUPPORT: Dr Middlekauff is supported by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Exploratory/Developmental Research Award [TRDRP-XT 320833] and the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate, Grant-in-Aid [15GRNT22930022].

FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;148(3):582-584. doi:10.1378/chest.15-0540
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Extract

Although the medical community is unanimous in its wish to limit or even eliminate tobacco smoking, the role of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in this process has been controversial.1 Will e-cigarettes be part of the solution by harm reduction, and are e-cigarettes really less harmful? Or will e-cigarettes contribute to the problem by serving as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes? As we are debating, regulations are being issued—and challenged. Unfortunately, due to a paucity of data, the calls for regulations in some cases sound alarmist.2 Certainly contributing to the strong opposition roused by the e-cigarette is our well-founded distrust of anything associated with the $85 billion US combusted-cigarette industry. Tobacco cigarette smoke is responsible for approximately 480,000 deaths/y in the United States. Approximately 18% of adult Americans smoke, a number which has not significantly decreased for a decade, despite antismoking campaigns, high cigarette taxes, and smoke-free policies. The position argued here is that an emotion-based, rather than evidenced-based, response to e-cigarettes may lead to a premature and scientifically unjustified rejection of a potentially beneficial means to reduce the enormous adverse health effects of tobacco cigarettes.

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