The Debate About Electronic Cigarettes: Harm Minimization or the Precautionary Principle
Posted: 18 Jun 2018
Date Written: April 2018
Two contrasting reviews (authored by Abrams et al. and Glantz & Bareham) in this volume have reached opposing conclusions on the effects of electronic cigarettes in a debate that is dividing the scientific and professional communities that have devoted careers to controlling the manufacture, advertising, sale, and use of combustible cigarettes. The research on the types, degree, and extent of harm from e-cigarettes is far from complete and, together with trends in teenage smoking and vaping, has raised new questions and prospects about the potential benefits that the new electronic products offer smokers of combustible cigarettes in quitting or at least cutting back on the known risks associated with the traditional forms of smoking. The rapidly morphing forms, constituents, promotions, and uses of the electronic varieties of the new nicotine delivery products (in this case electronic cigarettes) make research on their biological and behavioral effects moving targets. The two sides of this argument have produced a global divide on policy strategies.
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