Vaping helps reverse smoking harm – asthma expert

Smokers with asthma or chronic obstructive respiratory disease have the most to gain from switching to vaping, says international asthma specialist Professor Riccardo Polosa, who is speaking at Massey University next week.

Professor Polosa, from the University of Catania in Italy, is visiting Massey’s Auckland and Wellington campuses, where he will present on his research trialling e-cigarettes with smokers who have chronic respiratory illnesses. He has also conducted a trial on people with schizophrenia switching from smoking tobacco to vaping.

“Our studies, in which we follow up participants over time to measure the health effects of vaping, have shown that some of the damage from smoking is reversed,” Professor Polosa says. “We have been able to substantiate the risk of vaping is much less than the risks to health caused by continued smoking.”

He is speaking as a guest of Massey University Associate Professor Marewa Glover – a vaping and tobacco researcher from the School of Health Sciences. Dr Glover shares Professor Polosa’s strong views about government departments and health advocacy groups that continue to reject and downplay the role vaping can play in reducing the tobacco death rate.

“The Ministry of Health recently said that people wanting to use an electronic cigarette to help them quit smoking should be supported to do so by health workers, but some health groups are refusing to back down on their anti-vaping stance,” she says.

“It is shocking that health professionals would engage in such scaremongering to mislead the public about the much lower relative risk of vaping compared with continuing to smoke.”

Dr Glover says this is an opportunity for people to hear from one of the world’s leading experts in smoking cessation and the use of e-cigarettes for quitting. “His visit is timely given the ongoing confusion over the safety profile of e-cigarettes. Health workers interested in smoking cessation, and particularly in assisting people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and schizophrenia to quit smoking, will find his talk invaluable.”

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