“Cigarette” might appear in the term “e-cigarette” but that is as far as their similarities extend, reports a new Northwestern Medicine report published Friday, Sept. 28, in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Assuming e-cigarettes are equal to cigarettes could lead to misguided research and policy initiatives, the paper says.
“Comparing cigarettes to e-cigarettes can give us a false sense of what dangers exist because it misses the gap in understanding how people use them and how they can make people dependent,” said first author Matthew Olonoff, a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Before we start making policy changes, such as controlling nicotine or flavor options in e-cigarettes, we need to better understand what role these unique characteristics have.”
The commentary distills articles and published studies that compare e-cigarettes to cigarettes and supports the importance of investigating e-cigarettes as a unique nicotine delivery system. It was published less than a month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared youth vaping an epidemic.