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      Health professionals in Flanders perceive the potential health risks of vaping as lower than those of smoking but do not recommend using e-cigarettes to their smoking patients

      ,

      Harm Reduction Journal

      BioMed Central

      Electronic cigarette, Risk perception, Attitudes

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          Abstract

          Background

          Many misperceptions of both risks and opportunities of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) exist among the general population and among physicians, although e-cigs could be a valuable harm reduction tool for current smokers.

          Methods

          Two groups in Flanders, namely general practitioners (GPs; family doctors) and tobacco counselors filled out an online questionnaire with regard to their attitudes and risk perceptions concerning e-cigs. Statements included were on the safety and the addictive properties of e-cigs in absolute terms, whereas other items compared e-cigs with regular tobacco cigarettes. Statements about possible “gateway” and “renormalization” effects, selling to minors, and use in public places and on the potential of e-cigs as a smoking cessation aid were also included. Respondents were also asked for the rate at which their patients asked information about e-cigs, if they would recommend e-cigs to their smoking patients, and whether they had information brochures on e-cigs.

          Results

          About 70 % believed that e-cigs are harmful to vapers, and about half to two thirds believed that e-cigs are carcinogenic, increase cardiovascular risk, and increase the risk of chronic lung disease. Also, a substantial minority incorrectly believed these risks to be no less than those resulting from regular smoking. Ten to almost 20 % disagreed that e-cigs are healthier and represent less risk for the main serious smoking-related diseases than conventional cigarettes. More than half of the respondents disagreed that e-cigs are an effective smoking cessation aid. None (0 %) offered the strongest level of agreement for recommending e-cigs to their clients/patients, but GPs agreed to a lesser degree a bit more often than tobacco counselors. Almost none had information leaflets for potentially interested patients. Finally, the majority of our sample also believed that e-cigs will cause renormalization of smoking and that e-cigs will lead to an uptake of conventional smoking and disagreed with allowing vaping in enclosed public places.

          Conclusions

          Health professionals in Flanders perceive the potential health risks of vaping as lower than those of smoking but do not recommend using e-cigs to their smoking patients.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers.

          To describe the relapse curve and rate of long-term prolonged abstinence among smokers who try to quit without treatment. Systematic literature review. Cochrane Reviews, Dissertation Abstracts, Excerpt Medica, Medline, Psych Abstracts and US Center for Disease Control databases plus bibliographies of articles and requests of scientists. Prospective studies of self-quitters or studies that included a no-treatment control group. Two reviewers independently extracted data in a non-blind manner. The number of studies was too small and the data too heterogeneous for meta-analysis or other statistical techniques. There is a paucity of studies reporting relapse curves of self-quitters. The existing eight relapse curves from two studies of self-quitters and five no-treatment control groups indicate most relapse occurs in the first 8 days. These relapse curves were heterogeneous even when the final outcome was made similar. In terms of prolonged abstinence rates, a prior summary of 10 self-quitting studies, two other studies of self-quitters and three no-treatment control groups indicate 3-5% of self-quitters achieve prolonged abstinence for 6-12 month after a given quit attempt. More reports of relapse curves of self-quitters are needed. Smoking cessation interventions should focus on the first week of abstinence. Interventions that produce abstinence rates of 5-10% may be effective. Cessation studies should report relapse curves.
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            Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks

             Igor Burstyn (2014)
            Background Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are generally recognized as a safer alternative to combusted tobacco products, but there are conflicting claims about the degree to which these products warrant concern for the health of the vapers (e-cigarette users). This paper reviews available data on chemistry of aerosols and liquids of electronic cigarettes and compares modeled exposure of vapers with occupational safety standards. Methods Both peer-reviewed and “grey” literature were accessed and more than 9,000 observations of highly variable quality were extracted. Comparisons to the most universally recognized workplace exposure standards, Threshold Limit Values (TLVs), were conducted under “worst case” assumptions about both chemical content of aerosol and liquids as well as behavior of vapers. Results There was no evidence of potential for exposures of e-cigarette users to contaminants that are associated with risk to health at a level that would warrant attention if it were an involuntary workplace exposures. The vast majority of predicted exposures are < <1% of TLV. Predicted exposures to acrolein and formaldehyde are typically <5% TLV. Considering exposure to the aerosol as a mixture of contaminants did not indicate that exceeding half of TLV for mixtures was plausible. Only exposures to the declared major ingredients -- propylene glycol and glycerin -- warrant attention because of precautionary nature of TLVs for exposures to hydrocarbons with no established toxicity. Conclusions Current state of knowledge about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces. However, the aerosol generated during vaping as a whole (contaminants plus declared ingredients) creates personal exposures that would justify surveillance of health among exposed persons in conjunction with investigation of means to keep any adverse health effects as low as reasonably achievable. Exposures of bystanders are likely to be orders of magnitude less, and thus pose no apparent concern.
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              Epidemiological evidence relating snus to health – an updated review based on recent publications

               Peter Lee (2013)
              An earlier review summarized evidence relating use of snus (Swedish-type moist snuff) to health and to initiation and cessation of smoking. This update considers the effect recent publications on snus use and health have on the overall evidence. The additional evidence extends the list of neoplastic conditions unassociated with snus use (oropharynx, oesophagus, stomach, lung) to include colorectal cancer and acoustic neuroma, and further undermines the weakly-based argument that snus use increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, although there is a report of poorer cancer survival in users. It remains undemonstrated that “snuff-dipper’s lesion” increases risk of oral cancer, and recent publications add to the evidence that snus use has no effect on periodontitis or dental caries. Although onset of acute myocardial infarction is not adversely associated with snus use, there is some evidence of an association with reduced survival. Whether this is a direct effect of snus use or a result of confounding by socioeconomic status or other factors requires further investigation, as does a report of an increased risk of heart failure in snus users. Even if some adverse health effects of snus use do exist, it remains clear that they are far less than those of smoking.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                dinska.vangucht@thomasmore.be
                frank.baeyens@kuleuven.be
                Journal
                Harm Reduct J
                Harm Reduct J
                Harm Reduction Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                1477-7517
                24 June 2016
                24 June 2016
                2016
                : 13
                Affiliations
                [ ]Thomas More University College Antwerp and KU Leuven, Antwerp, Belgium
                [ ]KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
                Article
                111
                10.1186/s12954-016-0111-4
                4919883
                27342543
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Health & Social care

                electronic cigarette, attitudes, risk perception

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