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E-cigarettes have no place in pharmacy

I am one of those people who cannot tolerate the idea of people using nicotine in the long term. Louise Ross, a smoking cessation consultant, in ‘Should pharmacy sell e-cigarettes and encourage people to vape?’, suggests that e-cigarettes can be used to sustain an addiction for life — this opinion is astonishing.

Nicotine will never be a safe drug; the quality of vaping devices is uncontrolled and their long-term effects are unknown. Classifying people who vape as ‘non-smokers’ might be relevant to cancer research, but this is confusing when investigating the effects of nicotine.

Many countries have banned e-cigarettes, but Public Health England, Cancer UK and now the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, show no appreciation of nicotine’s pharmacology and its long-term effects on the body. It can damage nerves and smooth muscle function in organs of the autonomic nervous system, leading to, for example, cardiovascular disease.

“Supposition, poor science and gloomy predictions” were not part of the evidence I collated pointing to nicotine as the cause of colon diverticular disease and its detrimental effects on disease progression.

Organisations are rightly concerned to eliminate the effects of carcinogens in tobacco smoke, but this should they should also be seeking to reduce nicotine addiction. Advising vaping to sustain addiction is outrageous; e-cigarettes have no place in pharmacy and ‘Big Tobacco’ does not need any help to increase its sales.


Mary Griffiths, retired pharmacist, Macclesfield, Cheshire

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206527

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