Robert Bals, from Saarland University in Germany, is the series’ guest editor and is still seeking further submissions for 2017. Polosa et al serve up findings that smokers (with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) who successfully make the switch to vaping demonstrate improvements in both day-2-day symptoms and the number of times a flare-up made their breathing worse.
The team contend that: “There is a lack of data on the health effects of electronic cigarette use among smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and whether regular use results in improvement in subjective and objective COPD outcomes.”
The researchers investigated long-term changes in objective and subjective respiratory outcomes in smokers with a diagnosis of COPD. The long-term nature of the study is pleasing and goes some way to counter allegations that ‘we don’t know the long-term implications’ trotted out by anti-vaping campaigners.
Smokers taking part were those who managed to quit or substantially reduce their tobacco cigarette consumption by supplementing with or wholly converting to the use of electronic cigarettes. Patients were followed up a year and two years after the study to track changes.
Michael Siegel believes: “This study adds to the evidence that electronic cigarettes can play a significant role in achieving harm reduction among smokers who are unable to quit using traditional methods.”
“Why anti-tobacco groups and many health agencies are discouraging smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking is baffling,” Siegel continues. “Ironically, the tobacco companies are encouraging smokers to quit using e-cigarettes, but the health groups apparently don't want to see that happen. There is something very wrong in the modern practice of tobacco control.”
Polosa’s team noted “a marked reduction in cigarette consumption” among electronic cigarette users. They discovered “a significant reduction in COPD exacerbations was reported in the COPD e-cigarette user group.”
A significant reduction in COPD exacerbations was replicated in the smokers who drastically reduced their cigarette usage but remained dual users. “COPD symptoms and ability to perform physical activities improved statistically in the e-cigarette group at both visits, with no change in the control group.”
Polosa concludes: “These findings suggest that electronic cigarette use may aid smokers with COPD reduce their cigarette consumption or remain abstinent, which results in marked improvements in annual exacerbation rate as well as subjective and objective COPD outcomes.”