e-Cigarette Benefits?

042105054-cigarettes-tied-rope-and-wickShould we ban combustible cigarettes for e-cigarettes? Such an action would result in considerable healthcare cost savings and substantially reduce deaths relative to smoking, the authors of a paper in Tobacco Control, a BMJ publication, argue this week, while Rick and I debate what we actually know about the long term effects of e-cigarettes on PodMed even as we applaud the prospect of the elimination of combustible cigarettes. Here's what the researchers did:

The authors created two models for predicting the impact of outlawing combustible cigarettes and replacing them with e-cigarettes in the United States, one called an Optimistic Scenario and the other a Pessimistic Scenario. Each calculated deaths averted and healthcare costs avoided if such a change took place over a ten year period. These were compared with a Status Quo model where no changes were implemented, and all models considered the time period from 2016 to 2100 per age and sex, and projected mortality. By their calculations the Optimistic Scenario "yields 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost" while with the Pessimistic Scenario "1.6 million premature deaths are averted with 20.8 million fewer life years lost." That's a lot of death and life lost, let alone healthcare costs for lung cancer and COPD. Predictably, Rick and I vote yes!

Other topics this week include Tattoo Pigment–Induced Granulomatous Lymphadenopathy Mimicking Lymphoma in Annals of Internal Medicine, A single mutation in the prM protein of Zika virus contributes to fetal microcephaly in Science, and Association of Health Literacy With Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Abdominal Surgery in JAMA Surgery. Until next week, y'all live well.

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