Harm reduction and e-cigarettes: Distorting the approach
Some supporters of electronic cigarettes have argued that they should be considered a form of harm reduction, analogous to that which has been successful with narcotics. In this viewpoint, we contend that this argument is based on highly selective use of the evidence, coupled with a fundamental misunderstanding of a comprehensive harm minimisation strategy. This includes not only harm reduction but also reduction in demand and supply—two elements that are explicitly rejected by many advocates of electronic cigarettes. We contend that, in the absence of all three elements, there is a danger that electronic cigarettes will delay the achievement of a tobacco-free world.
Keywordselectronic cigarettes harm reduction tobacco control smoking tobacco endgame
- 2.Stimson, G.V., Dorn, D. and Lines, R. (2013) Re: E-cigarettes and the marketing push that surprised everyone. BMJ, http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5780/rr/665237.
- 4.Bammer, G., Douglas, B., Moore, M. and Chappell, D. (1992) Heroin trial for the Australian Capital Territory – An overview of feasibility research. 3rd International Conference on Drug Related Harm, Melbourne, 1992.Google Scholar
- 5.Bammer, G. (1995) Report and Recommendations on Stage 2 Feasibility Research into the Controlled Availability of Opioids. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Australian Institute of Criminology, 1995, http://nceph.anu.edu.au/files/feasibility_research_into_the_controlled_availability_of_opioids_stage_2_report_and_recommendations.pdf.
- 6.Stockings, E. et al (2016) Prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, and treatment of substance use in young people. The Lancet Psychiatry 3(3): 280–296. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26905481.
- 7.Ritter, A. and Cameron, J. (2006) A review of the efficacy and effectiveness of harm reduction strategies for alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Drug and Alcohol Review 25: 611–624.Google Scholar
- 9.McNeill, A., Brose, L., Calder, R., Hitchman, S., Hajek, P. and McRobbie, H. (2015) E-cigarettes: An Evidence Update. A Report Commissioned by Public Health England. London: PHE.Google Scholar
- 13.Combes, R.D. and Balls, M. (2015) A critical assessment of the scientific basis, and implementation, of regulations for the safety assessment and marketing of innovative tobacco-related products. ATLA 43: 251–290.Google Scholar
- 16.Smoking in England: Latest Statistics. STS140721 (2016) http://www.smokinginengland.info/latest-statistics/.
- 17.Colaianni, C.A., Tapias, L.F., Cauley, R., Sheridan, R., Schulz, J.T. and Goverman, J. (2016) Injuries caused by explosion of electronic cigarette devices. Eplasty 16: ic9.Google Scholar
- 19.Glantz, S.A., Slade, J., Bero, L.A., Hanauer, P., and Barnes, D.E. (eds) (1998) The Cigarette Papers. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- 20.Australian Federal Department of Health (2015) The National Drug Strategy 2015, http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/Publishing.nsf/content/DB4076D49F13309FCA257854007BAF30/$File/nds2015.pdf.
- 21.Morgenstern, M., Stoolmiller, M., Bergamini, E. and Sargent, J.D. (2016) Did limits on payments for tobacco placements in US movies affect how movies are made? Tobacco Control: doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052400.
- 22.Tobacco Free Kids. (2013) 7 ways e-cigarette companies are copying Big Tobacco’s playbook, http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/tobacco_unfiltered/post/2013_10_02_ecigarettes.
- 26.Therapeutic Goods Administration. (2015) Electronic cigarettes, https://www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/electronic-cigarettes.