By Amber Benge
As head of the Vitality Institute, Dr. Derek Yach takes his position of influence seriously. With that said, he had no hesitations this week when he urged health care providers to start promoting electronic cigarettes to their patients that are still using tobacco products. Yach believes ecigs could be the key to smoking cessation for many patients, especially those who have been unsuccessful in quit attempts with other methods of nicotine replacement therapy.
Dr. Yach is no stranger to public health policies and his previous work with the World Health Organization was helpful in developing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. While he is highly familiar with smoking and the risk it poses to people around the world, he insists that ecigs are the answer that thousands have been waiting for.
I think we are at the stage where we have sufficient evidence to be comfortable that (for) a smoker who wants to quit or reduce their exposure to tobacco products, using an e-cigarette is a good choice, Yach said recently.
He went on to explain that public health policies should be focused on making things harder for tobacco companies, while promoting harm reduction methods such as electronic cigarettes. He believes ecigs need to be regulated, but not in an effort to kill the vaping movement. Instead, regulation should be aimed at insuring reliable ecigs for the smokers that can benefit form them the most.
Yussef Saloojee, the executive director for the National Council Against Smoking, agreed that ecigs could potentially be a harm reduction method, but he is hesitant to recommend them until we are more aware of any safety hazards related to vaping. He would prefer that ecigs be sold only in pharmacies so they can be regulated under the Medicines and Related Substances Act.
Its certainly a step in the right direction to see former WHO officials like Dr. Yach speaking out on behalf of electronic cigarettes. With the help of these public health experts, we can build momentum to keep the ecig industry moving forward.
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