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Letter: Proposed vaping ban unwise

(10/11/19 4:00am)

The perspective on e-cigarette use presented recently in the Chronicle is not held by all Duke faculty, nor is it supported by many tobacco treatment investigators. According to the CDC, the recent outbreak of respiratory illness among e-cigarette users has mainly been linked to contaminated sources of illicit street products containing THC or CBD. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report of 2010 and many other experts have concluded that the diseases from smoking are caused mainly by combustion products of cigarettes, not nicotine. Studies of e-cigarette users have shown that they take in far less toxins than cigarette smokers. A study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showed that e-cigarettes were nearly twice as effective at helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapy. Therefore, it is misguided and counterproductive to ban vaping because it is an important, less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes for addicted smokers who cannot quit. A ban on vaping products may also drive students to seek out illicit products, increasing rather than lowering their risk. Moreover, e-cigarette use is already prohibited in all Duke buildings. Education about risks, including addiction, is a wiser approach than more extensive bans.