A piece co-authored by Dr. Cheryl Healton, dean and professor of public health policy and management, and Dr. David Abrams, professor of social and behavioral sciences at New York University College of Global Public Health, was published by Science titled “Evidence, alarm, and the debate over e-cigarettes.”
The paper warns against prohibitionist measures for e-cigarettes doing more harm than good if they conflate three completely different issues: the vaping of nicotine that helps save smokers from deadly cigarettes; the rise in teen vaping; and the sudden rash of tragic deaths and lung illness from vaping illicit cannabis. (The vaping of illicit cannabis Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, oils is a very different challenge that must be addressed separately).
By describing the contested history of harm reduction and proposing a way forward, the paper asserts that specific regulations and policies that are promulgated at local, state, national, or international levels must be risk-proportionate. The most harmful products on the nicotine-harm continuum, combustible products, should be much more aggressively and stringently regulated than less harmful non-combusted nicotine products. Policies that fail to differentiate will fail public health.