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Electronic Cigarettes Could Save Hundreds of Thousands of Lives, Says Expert

Posted on 26th Apr 2009 @ 5:12 AM

Electronic Cigarettes Could Save Hundreds of Thousands of Lives, Says Expert 

Electronic Cigarettes probably carry less than one percent of the risk of regular cigarettes and they could carry as little as one tenth of one percent of the risk of smoking. Yet despite their potential to save almost 400,000 lives a year the devices are likely to be banned by a tobacco bill being pushed through the Senate by Philip Morris.

This was the view of one expert we interviewed on the safety of the electronic cigarette, Dr Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians and a prominent tobacco harm reduction spokesman.

Dr Nitzkin did agree there was a need for improved quality control of the devices, which are manufactured in China.

However, he also stated that even in the worst case scenario of the e-cigarettes carrying one percent of the risks of regular cigarettes the device has a huge potential to save lives.

Dr Nitzkin estimated that if every smoker in the US smoked electronic cigarettes the resulting death toll would be between 400 and 4000 a year.

The compares to the 400,000 estimated deaths caused by smoking regular cigarettes.

When we asked why a tobacco bill sponsored by America's largest tobacco company and which removed safe alternatives while endorsing regular cigarettes was likely to be passed, Dr Nitzkin explained that inaccurate and misleading information was being used to promote the bill:

"This piece of legislation has been sold to health organisations to endorse and to congressmen here in the United States to sponsor using a summary in the description of the bill which is extremely inaccurate and which does not reflect the actual impact the bill will have if passed."