Delegates at the World Medical Association’s (WMA) annual General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand, from 10 to 13 October 2012, agreed a new policy statement declaring that physicians should inform their patients about the risks of using electronic cigarettes. The statement says that quality control processes used to manufacture e-cigarettes are either substandard or non-existent and few studies have been done to analyse the level of nicotine delivered to the user and the composition of the vapour produced.
Dr. Haikerwal, WMA Chair and an Australian general practitioner, said: ‘manufacturers and distributors mislead people into believing these devices are acceptable alternatives to scientifically proven cessation techniques. They are not. Unknown amounts of nicotine are delivered to the user, and the level of absorption is unclear, leading to potentially toxic levels of nicotine in the system. ‘There are better, proven safe ways to stop smoking. The safety effectiveness of e-cigarettes has to be determined.’
WMA’s statement on electronic cigarettes is in line with WSMI’s statement and WSMI fully supports it. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available without a prescription in many countries to help people quit smoking safely and effectively. NRT has been scientifically shown to be effective in helping smokers to quit their habit. People may also contact their physician, pharmacist, a nurse or other relevant health professional in their country if they prefer to seek help when making the decision to stop smoking.