Call for open attitude to e-cigs

| April 21, 2016

An Italian health professional has called on the Hong Kong government to develop a science-based policy on vaping, according to a story in the Harbour Times.

The views of Professor Riccardo Polosa, who supports the use of vaping products to help people quit smoking, chime with those of many Hong Kong consumers and business people who have consistently urged the government to adopt a more open attitude towards vaping products

During a recent visit to Hong Kong, Polosa, who was the president of the Italian Anti-Smoking League from 2003 to 2008 and who founded the University of Catania’s Centre for Tobacco Research in 2003, said that vaping, given proper monitoring and regulation, could be a “gateway away from the harmful effects of smoking”.

“By definition, smokers are already polluting themselves with more than 7,000 chemicals,” he was quoted as saying. “What causes disease… is a synergistic action of these many thousands of chemicals. If you look at the component…of what is emitted by electronic cigarettes, it’s not thousands of chemicals, but a few, 95 percent less chemicals.”

For Polosa, what matters is smoking prevalence. “All people exclusively adopting the vaping lifestyle are improving all objective and subjective outcomes for all diseases under examination,” he said. “So it’s a great public health gain that we are going to see if we embrace electronic cigarettes. I would like to caution the Hong Kong government to follow more beneficial examples, say in England, where e-cigarette [usage] has been very popular for the past five years and they have seen the largest decrease in smoking prevalence.

“I understand [Hong Kong] has a flat rate for smoking for the last seven or eight years, so it is time for a change…We see in other countries where [vaping] had been liberalised, there were big changes in smoking prevalence and I don’t see why this is not going to happen in Hong Kong too.”

Polosa called on the government to build up its own smoking prevalence data, monitor it and formulate vaping policies accordingly.

In Italy, Polosa has launched a collaborative project to provide training for vape shop owners and salespersons on smoking cessation counselling. “I prefer to have professionals in vape shops,” he said. “Probably in the future we need to regulate vape shop owners and salespersons in the way we regulate pharmacists. They should have a minimal training, because after all they are helping people to quit smoking,” he says. “I don’t see anyone in Hong Kong who is in charge of smoking cessation.”

The Harbour Times piece is at: http://harbourtimes.com/2016/04/20/anti-smoking-doctor-calls-for-vaping-to-help-hopeful-quitters/.

Category: Breaking News

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