“We have not learned:” ERS leaders respond to BMJ article on the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation

14 February, 2018

ERS leaders have reacted strongly to a paper supporting the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), stating that the article shows that we have not learned from the past.

Professors Mina Gaga, Tobias Welte and Thierry Troosters – respectively the ERS President, President-Elect and Vice-President – alongside the ERS Publications Committee Chair Professor Andrew Bush, collectively responded to the article on 5 February via the BMJ’s rapid response service.

The response makes a clear statement about ERS’s stance on e-cigarettes: “Human lungs are made to breathe clean air and any substance inhaled long term may be detrimental.”

The statement raises two key points: “(A) There is little evidence that e-cigarettes are an aid to smoking cessation and much evidence that tobacco manufacturers are advertising e-cigarettes as a bridge to starting nicotine and as a vehicle for long term continuation”; and “(B) no-one, expert or otherwise, can credibly assert that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco in the long term, given that they contain a whole new tranche of unregulated and unstudied compounds being inhaled into the lung.”

Read the response in full