E-Cig Research: The Quest for Sound Evidence

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A dozen of the world’s greatest minds in the field of public health are coming together to promote e-cigarettes as a tool for fighting the global smoking pandemic. The International Scientific Committee, which is composed of researchers from Europe and the U.S., will support ongoing e-cig research in an attempt to correct the myths that have continued to proliferate about vaping.

International Scientific Committee Forms to Support Vaping

Dr. Riccardo Polosa, who is the Chief Scientific Adviser for Lega Italiana Anti-Fumo, announced the formation of the International Scientific Committee to support vaping in July 2016. The new coalition was inspired by a growing movement around the world to encourage tobacco users to switch from smoking to vaping as a method of harm reduction. For example, the U.K.’s Royal College of Physicians recently released the report “Nicotine Without Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction”, which states e-cigarettes should be widely promoted as a substitute for smoking. This report coincides with Public Health England’s evidence-based review on e-cigs released in August of 2015 which concluded vaping is “at least 95 percent safer than smoking.”

“The benefits offered by electronic cigarettes,” Dr. Polosa said in an issued statement, “could reduce the leading cause of death in the world.” He noted that constructive discussions about vaping have been hindered by negative and misleading media reports, which his team hopes to challenge.

Related: Public Health England Promotes E-Cigs as Safe Alternative

Members of the New International Scientific Committee for Vaping

Here’s a brief look at the scientists who will be collaborating on this project:

  • Dr. Riccardo Polosa, University of Catania: Dr. Polosa is the director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology at the University of Catania in Italy. He also runs the school’s Center for Tobacco Research.
  • Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, University of Patras: A leader in research at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Dr. Farsalinos
    has been investigating e-cigs since 2011. His presentations and publications have examined the cytotoxic effects of e-cig vapor on lung cells and the impact of vaping on cardiac and coronary functions.
  • Dr. Michael Siegel, Boston University School of Public Health: In addition to publishing 70 academic papers, Dr. Siegel is the author of a prominent tobacco policy blog called The Rest of the Story. He formerly performed tobacco research for the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.
  • Dr. Umberto Veronesi, European Institute of Oncology: Dr. Veronesi has been the Scientific Director of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan for over two decades. One of the global leaders in cancer cure research, he has more than 650 academic publications to his name.
  • Dr. Umberto Tirelli, Istituto Nazionale Tumori: Dr. Tirelli directs the Department of Medical Oncology at the Italian National Cancer Institute in Aviano. Among other expertise, he is a specialist in the fields of oncology and hematology.
  • Dr. Fabio Beatrice, Italian Society of Tabaccologia: In addition to teaching forensic medicine at the University of Turin in Italy, Dr. Beatrice is the director of Otolaryngology at San Giovanni Bosco hospital. He also directs the hospital’s Anti-Smoking Center.
  • Dr. Carlo Cipolla, European Institute of Oncology: Dr. Cipolla is the current director of the Cardiology Division at The European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy. He was formerly the president of the European Branch of the International Cardioncology Society.
  • Dr. David Nutt, Imperial College London: Dr. Nutt directs the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences. He was the primary author of a 2016 study titled “E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking” in the medical journal Lancet.
  • Dr. Sally Satel, American Enterprise Institute: A psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Satel is an expert in mental health policy who has authored numerous publications including “PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine.”
  • Dr. Jacques Le Houezec, Consultant of Public Health: Dr. Houezec has three decades of experience researching tobacco and nicotine cessation. In addition to being a respected public health consultant, he is also the director of www.treatobacco.net, which is a resource for treating tobacco addiction.
  • Dr. Marcus Munafò, University of Bristol: Professor Munafò specializes in the development of population-level interventions to combat tobacco and alcohol addiction. His research has been pivotal to the debate surrounding tobacco control policies including the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco cigarettes in the U.K.
  • Dr. Pasquale Caponnetto, Lega Italiana Anti-Fumo: A researcher for the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Catania, Dr. Caponnetto has co-authored multiple studies about the potential benefits of e-cigs to asthmatic smokers.

The Future of Electronic Cigarettes

With so much misinformation combined with the unrelenting fear-mongering claims about e-cigs, it’s understandable why the public is now viewing vaping as equally or more dangerous than smoking. The formation of this powerful coalition brings new hope in replacing the negative headlines plaguing the vaping industry with sound evidence on the health effects of electronic cigarettes and their potential to serve as a safe alternative to smokers across the globe.