Effects of e-cigarettes on smokers and on non-smokers. Therapeutic and addictive potential of e-cigarettes

Prof. Peter Hajek, London, England

Vorsitz: Dr. Tobias Rüther, München, Deutschland

Abstract: The presentation will discuss the current controversy surrounding e-cigarettes (EC) and their effects on smokers and on non-smokers. For pragmatists, EC have a potential to eradicate smoking related disease and death; for moralists EC perpetuate nicotine addiction. Up to now, EC had limited appeal to nonsmokers who experiment with them but very rarely progress to regular use. Evidence will be discussed suggesting that nicotine is highly addictive in tobacco, but have low dependence potential on its own. Rise in EC popularity has been accompanied by an accelerated decline rather than any increase in youth smoking. Evidence is also accumulating that EC are more effective in helping smokers quit than other approaches. They also cost less, and reach much higher numbers of smokers. Although EC are probably not risk-free and new nicotine delivery products need to be carefully monitored, the emergence of EC is making elimination of smoking a realistic proposition.

Peter Hajek is Director of Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London. His research is concerned primarily with understanding addictive behaviours, and developing and evaluating both behavioural and pharmacological treatments for dependent smokers and for people with weight problems. He authored or co-authored over 350 publications and his research influenced international clinical practice and policy.