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Gerry Stimson Discusses Ecigs

Professor Gerry Stimson ventures his opinions on electronic cigarettes.

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Professor Gerry Stimson, ecig advocate, is an emeritus professor at Imperial College London, and a visiting professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Also, he’s the director of the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Drug Policy, and co-founder of the Global Forum on Nicotine.

“I first heard about e-cigarettes around 2010. I’ve been working in the field of drug and alcohol use over many years, to help people reduce their risks from using drugs. So, when I heard about ecigs, I though ‘here was the missing link for smoking’. Here was something people could use instead of smoking and avoid all the risks associated with smoking, so I was very excited.”

But this initial excitement hasn’t dampened. We on POTV have witnessed the incredible volume of activities undertaken and events attended. Stimson confirms this: “My enthusiasm for them, if anything, has increased over the years.”

“E-cigarettes are important because people actually like them. Just think, they only came onto the market, in the UK, around 2007. Really, they came from nowhere, and there wasn’t much advertising – there hasn’t been anything in the way of promotion by the NHS. But over a few years, they are now being used by millions of people in the UK, and have been tried by many more.”

The professor points out that the latest data suggests that over 8 million smokers have tried them. Now maybe only 2.5 million have gone on to use them full-time, but this is still a phenomenal achievement and demonstrates a huge willingness to want to quit smoking from current smokers.

“There’s now an accumulation of evidence from studies (in the UK, Europe and North America), that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than regular cigarettes. In fact, there’s no situation where it’s safer to smoke than use an e-cigarette.”

“Now, because the studies vary, because they look at different aspects of e-cigarettes, we’ve got lots of different measures of safety. How to communicate that is a problem because there are these different measures. Can we put a figure on it? Well, it’s a difficult one, but Public Health England has said that e-cigarettes are 95% less risky than smoking.”

Stimson laments that in the minds of many commentators, and the general public at large, nicotine is linked to cancer. “Nicotine doesn’t cause cancer,” he forthrightly states, “and what we know from the long-term use of nicotine is that it is relatively harmless.”

The full discussion can be watched on the New Nicotine Alliance’s YouTube video below:

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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