A new study by Dr. Riccardo Polosa and colleagues, published in the journal Respiratory Research, finds that smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who switch to electronic cigarettes experience an improvement in their symptoms and have fewer COPD exacerbations.
(See: Polosa R, et al. Evidence for harm reduction in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes. Respiratory Research. Published online on December 16, 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s12931-016-0481-x.)
An improvement in respiratory symptoms was observed both in smokers who switched completely to electronic cigarettes and in dual users, although those who switched completely experienced a more substantial improvement.
Although the sample size was small (24 patients in each group), the authors conclude that: "These findings suggest that ECs use may aid smokers with COPD reduce
their cigarette consumption or remain abstinent, which results in marked
improvements in annual exacerbation rate as well as subjective and
objective COPD outcomes."
The Rest of the Story
This study adds to the evidence that electronic cigarettes can play a significant role in achieving harm reduction among smokers who are unable to quit using traditional methods. Why anti-tobacco groups and many health agencies are discouraging smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking is baffling. Ironically, the tobacco companies are encouraging smokers to quit using e-cigarettes, but the health groups apparently don't want to see that happen. There is something very wrong in the modern practice of tobacco control.