The Debate About Electronic Cigarettes: Harm Minimization or the Precautionary Principle

Posted: 18 Jun 2018

See all articles by Lawrence W. Green

Lawrence W. Green

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - School of Medicine

Jonathan E. Fielding

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health

Ross C. Brownson

Washington University in St. Louis

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Green, Lawrence W. and Fielding, Jonathan E. and Brownson, Ross C., The Debate About Electronic Cigarettes: Harm Minimization or the Precautionary Principle (April 2018). Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 39, pp. 189-191, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3197570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-102417-124810

Lawrence W. Green

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - School of Medicine ( email )

513 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
United States

Jonathan E. Fielding

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health ( email )

650 Charles E. Young Drive South
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Ross C. Brownson (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

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