Anyone who wants to stop smoking tobacco should not try to do so with the help of electronic cigarettes. This is because they carry a significant health and relapse risk. This is the conclusion of a recommendation paper published by the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) and endorsed by the DZL and 13 other medical societies and organizations.
The physicians advise against the use of e-cigarettes because they are harmful to health and continue to be used permanently by most smokers who want to quit - in contrast to temporary nicotine replacement therapy with nicotine patches, for example, or the short-term use of addiction-inhibiting medications.
"Those who inhale pro-inflammatory, toxic substances and flavors through e-cigarettes risk ongoing damage to the bronchial tubes and lung tissue," says Professor Wolfram Windisch, deputy president of the DGP. "Smokers who are willing to quit and who have permanently narrowed airways due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or other lung diseases should especially not switch to e-cigarettes." Many research findings demonstrate that e-cigarettes damage the lungs and cardiovascular system. There is also evidence of a cancer-promoting effect.
Anyone unable to quit smoking on their own should seek professional help as soon as possible. This includes counseling and support from medical personnel and therapy with nicotine replacement products or addiction-inhibiting medications. Individual telephone consultations, for example, are the first step in support. The family doctor can also be the first point of contact. Behavioral therapy combined with drug support is currently showing the best results for smoking cessation.
Germany's nationwide counseling services for smoking cessation are underdeveloped, underorganized, and underfunded. Therefore, the physicians demand more money from the health policy for functioning programs for tobacco cessation.
Source: DGP press release
Position paper: Empfehlungen zum Umgang mit der elektronischen Zigarette (E-Zigarette)