Public Release: 

E-cigarettes: Studies presented at the ERS Congress

European Lung Foundation

Munich, Germany: The latest evidence on the potential benefits and risks of e-cigarettes has been presented this week at the European Respiratory Society's International Congress in Munich.

Electronic cigarettes have received much attention in recent years as their use has increased across Europe. As the devices are relatively new, there is little long-term evidence detailing the potential harm or benefit that these devices can cause.

During the ERS Congress, a number of abstracts will be presented on the topic. The key outcomes are revealed here:

  • Research into the short-term effects of e-cigarettes has established a link between the devices and asthma and emphysema in a mouse model (Read abstract)

  • E-cigarettes were found to cause similar changes to the cells in the lungs that are seen with normal cigarettes (Read abstract)

  • Research found that the devices could be used as a successful quitting aid (Read abstract)

  • Study shows a lack of consensus among doctors advising patients (Read abstract)

ERS position on e-cigarettes

The ERS agrees with the recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and is opposed to the use of unregulated e-cigarettes. While the short-term negative impact on health appears not as great as tobacco cigarettes, the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not known. As a Society grounded in scientific principles, ERS believes that the precautionary principle should be applied when scientific evidence is inconclusive and insufficient.

ERS agrees with the WHO proposal and believes that a strong regulatory framework is required in particular to protect children, young people and non-smokers. Furthermore, there is a clear need for more independent research to find out both potential benefits and risks of these products.

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For more information on this ERS position, read an editorial on e-cigarettes published in the European Respiratory Journal: http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/current

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