Erik Befrits – Nicotine Science and Media Update November 27th 2014

Michael Russell and Murray Jarvik, two pioneers of smoking-cessation research in the 1970s, would probably have welcomed the development of the electronic cigarette or “personal nicotine vaporizer” (PNV). Beyond serving as a temporary aid for people attempting to quit smoking cigarettes, such new nicotine-delivery systems could act as long-term alternatives to tobacco—making it possible to eliminate tobacco consumption almost entirely.


High levels of benzene, a chemical in crude oil and gasoline, are present in hookah smokers and nonsmokers after they attend social events where the water pipes are used, a new report says. Benzene exposure is a known risk factor for leukemia. Since there are no safe levels of benzene exposure, interventions to prevent or reduce hookah smoking or regulate the tobacco products are needed, say the authors.


It’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and to shed light on the possible perils of smoking, The Daily Free Press spoke with Michael Siegel, a physician and professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. Siegel, whose research specializes in tobacco use and cigarette marketing, talked about the social climates that shape nicotine addiction.


Makers of electronic cigarettes are racing to design and buy variations of a technology triggering a billion-dollar boom and prompted a backlash from health officials worried by the impact of the smokeless devices. China, with more than 300 million smokers, is the front runner in the development of e-cigarette technology, while versions being patented include a “pay as you go” computer-aided device and others that deliver caffeine.


Researchers commissioned by Japan’s Health Ministry found carcinogens such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in vapour produced by several types of e-cigarette liquid, a health ministry official told AFP. “In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette,” said researcher Naoki Kunugita, adding that the amount of formaldehyde detected varied through the course of analysis.


The increasing use of e-cigarettes in the UK presents some tricky questions for those trying to reduce the harm caused by smoking. Rather than adopt policies based on emotion or ideology, it is important to start with the facts when considering what to do about policies on e-cigarettes. Surveys by ASH show that adult users commonly report that they have used e-cigarettes to help them cut down or stop smoking or to remain smoke free.



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