Italian Authorities Concede E-Cigs Safer than Tobacco Cigarettes
The Italian Health Ministry has released a new report on e-cigarettes, and one of their findings is that “the electronic cigarette is less toxic (than tobacco cigarettes), but we cannot say that it is totally innocuous.”
The report was not based on new scientific studies, but rather on other studies and documents previously produced on smokeless cigarettes. Overall, it urged a “prudent approach” to the product, with the ministry saying “we know little about its worth in stopping people smoking or how toxic it is.”
The Italian officials recommended, as many other governments have done, that e-cigarettes not be used by young people because of the nicotine contained in most eliquid, and because they worry that ecigs could be a gateway to the use of tobacco cigarettes by younger vapers. They also say, though, that more research is needed before additional recommendations can be issued. But the ministry says that if it’s proven that electronic cigarettes can be valuable as a stop smoking aid, they should be regulated in the same way as nicotine gum and lozenges.
One interesting note: the report identified e-cigs as a “fashion gadget,” perhaps revealing a bias against the product. It urged that electronic cigarettes sold in Italy contain a detailed health information note, but of course since the report said there’s little known about the health effects of ecigs, it’s not clear what that detailed note would say.
The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association has ridiculed some of the claims in the Italian report, saying there’s no evidence that e-cigarettes can be a “gateway” to tobacco cigarettes, pointing out that the products are marketed to current smokers. It also discounts many of the reports claims, and that ecigs are no more likely to create new smokers, than “virgin cocktails” are likely to create alcoholics.