Although tens of thousands of e-cigarette advocates will beg to differ, an alleged report issued by the Italian Health Ministry claims there is no proof that these odorless smoking alternatives are useful in combating an addiction to smoking. They add that, because e-cigarettes still deliver nicotine to the user and using it could lead to smoking the "real deal", it should not be used by young people.
According to Roberta Pacifici, director of Italy Observatory on Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Use at the National Health Institute: "We can say that the electronic cigarette is less toxic, but we cannot say that it is totally innocuous." She added: "We have to have a prudent approach towards this product as we know little about its worth in stopping people smoking or how toxic it is." Pacifici did however, concede to the fact that e-cigarettes deliver less nicotine and toxic substances than traditional cigarettes which, when smoked, produce more than 400 carcinogenic substances.
Ray Story, CEO of The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, says that e-cigarettes don't claim to help people quit smoking in the first place. He points out that there has never been any proof that e-cigarettes are harmful and that attacking the e-cigarette industry is less about public health and more about protecting the revenue generated by the sale of tobacco products.
Whether you support e-cigarettes or not, there is no doubt that controversy will always exist over their use. Why is this? Many agree with Story that they threaten revenue resulting from the sale of cigarettes and other products containing nicotine, including Nicorette gum and other smoking cessation products. Public health agencies may never advocate for their use, in part because of the lack of scientific evidence supporting that they're not harmful. One thing is certain, however; while proof that they aren't harmful is lacking, so is proof that they are.
In order to verify the accuracy of the report issued by the Italian Ministry of Health and determine which scientific methods were used to form the study's conclusion, this writer was unable to find any information on their website in either English or Italian. If anyone has the actual link to the report, please leave it in the comment section.