Electronic cigarettes in physician practice
Advice for physicians on the use of electronic cigarettes in clinical practice
This peer-reviewed article was published today in the Royal Australian College of Physicians journal, Internal Medicine Journal.
The key points are:
- Medical practitioners have a duty of care to provide the best possible management at each patient encounter. Withholding a legitimate treatment option that could prevent a life-threatening illness is a breach of that obligation.
- There is growing evidence for the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a quitting aid and, although not completely harmless, the scientific consensus is that they are substantially less harmful than smoking tobacco.
- More research is needed, but there is now sufficient empirical evidence and real-world experience over more than a decade to consider their use as a legitimate tobacco harm reduction tool for smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit with conventional strategies.
- Smokers should be advised that the highest success rates occur with daily use with nicotine e-liquid and newer e-cigarette models.
- After quitting smoking, it is preferable to aim ultimately to cease vaping if possible, but long-term use of e-cigarettes is safer than relapsing to smoking.
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