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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia: Researchers Urge Less Panic About Vaping

Bans and restricting e-cigarette sales could do more public harm than good, according to a team of public health and ethics experts including Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health professor, Dr. Ronald Bayer. In a recent article in Science, Bayer and colleagues address concerns – most notably the risk of taking away a powerful tool to help smokers quit.

Bayer and his co-authors believe that vaping policy discussions should include an examination of the immediate crisis in the context of all the scientific evidence and urge that we remain aware of the important lessons that harm reduction has provided in areas such a heroin use, human immunodeficiency virust (HIV) prevention and alcohol control.

“Alarm is important; it reflects concern.  But alarmism threatens to sweep away our capacity for reasoned action,” said Dr. Bayer.

They call for regulatory measures that strike a balance between “making regulated nicotine vaping products available to smokers while adopting forceful measures to limit the risks to and use by youth as much as possible.”

While illnesses and deaths due to vaping are taken seriously by Bayer and the researchers emphasize that each day more than 2,500 U.S. teens start smoking and about 1,300 adults die due to cigarettes. They argue that “taking vaping – including flavored products – away as a smoking-cessation and harm-reduction tool now will amount to a public health failure.”

Read more, including an interview of Dr. Bayer, in Vice.

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