E-Cigarettes: Killing Me Softly or Our Greatest Public Health Opportunity?

Friday, 13 February 2015: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 230B (San Jose Convention Center)
A total of 1.3 billion people smoke, and this habit will kill half of them. Not since the internet has society seen a comparative disruptive technology with the capacity to so fundamentally affect lives as the electronic cigarette. Hundreds of versions have sprung up, specialized shops cannot be built fast enough, and Wells Fargo has predicted that sales will outstrip classic cigarettes by 2021. Eighty percent of smokers want to quit; more than 50 percent have tried e-cigarettes, of which 33 percent continue to use them, but 33 percent of these give up nicotine altogether. Yet, are e-cigarettes "safe" or simply "safer"? If the former, shouldn’t harm-reduction advocates welcome them? Or does their nicotine and flavorings-laced vapor risk developing cancer much in the same way that tobacco smoke does? Are they childproof enough? Are they a gateway to smoking for teenagers? Should we freeze advertising until we know more? And what concerns should we have about the billions of discarded cartridges and lithium batteries? What is clear is that regulation is a mess worldwide. This session brings together leading medical, industry, and civil society experts in the U.S. and European Union to explore the latest data for and against e-cigarettes. A common aim is to move from the "tobacco war" mindset and advocate for greater evidence-based clarity, made possible by unprecedented advances in information gathering, imaging, and analysis. A strong focus is the ethical importance of more thoughtful consideration of how information about science and technology and their products is used for societal benefit, evaluated for potential risks, and communicated beyond the scientific community to end users where it matters most -- those that may live or die on such decisions.
Aidan Gilligan, SciCom—Making Sense of Science
Julian Kinderlerer, European Commission, European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
Julian Kinderlerer, European Commission, European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
Peter Gluckman, Office for the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University
Wilson Compton, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)
Understanding Nicotine Addiction and Its Brain Reward Systems
Deborah Arnott , Action on Smoking and Health
Global Tobacco Control: What To Do About E-Cigarettes?