Italian Non-Smoking Association Positive About Electronic Cigarettes

Italian flag.

(This post has been updated following clarification from Riccardo – see bottom of post.)

Hard on the heels of the UK government`s enthusiastic comments on electronic cigarettes, the Italian Non-Smoking Association (Lega Italiano Anti Fumo (LIAF)) is close to announcing positive results from their own research.

Professor Riccardo Polosa, Scientific advisor of LIAF and a Professor of Medicine at Catania University, examined the effect of electronic cigarettes in helping cigarettes smokers to reduce or eliminate tobacco smokers in a 6 month pilot study.

22 participants (55%) were able to either reduce their cigarette consumption or stopping altogether.

In the press release, the Professor stated:

“Cigarette smoking is a tough addiction to break. Therefore, improved approaches to smoking cessation are necessary. E-cigarettes may prove to be a safe alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. They provide a coping mechanism by replacing some of smoking gestures, to help smokers remain abstinent during their quit attempt or to reduce cigarette consumption.”

(Source: Italian No Smoking Association.)

Riccardo also told me that he is in the process of  publishing the first clinical study on safety and efficacy on e-cigarettes.

Update: Riccardo was kind enough to answer some follow up questions:

What are your thoughts on the safety of e-cigarettes as compared to regular cigarettes?

Although there is no data (and there will never be for the next 5-10 yrs or so) about long term use of these products, there is no reason to believe that a `vaporizer` can be more dangerous than a lit cigarette. In fact, direct toxicology comparisons show that e-cig are 250 to 750 times (depending on the carcinogen measured) less toxic than a lit cigarette. We are currently designing a study to evaluate circulating marker for cardiovascular risk in switchers/quitters, dual users and smoking cessation/switching failure.

When you mean quit, does this include people who continue to use electronic cigarettes?

Of course. In our study we had 9/40 `quitters` – but in fact only 3 quit smoking and e-cig whereas the other 6 switched to a e-cig.

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