Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How to tackle lung cancer in the EU? Any role for tobacco harm reduction?

Unfortunately, vaping and snusing seem completely dismissed (see below) during the European Cancer Forum that took place in Brussels on December 4  (program PDF):
Although it has only 9% of the global population, Europe accounts for 23.4% of the global cancer cases and 20.3% of the cancer deaths in general. Regarding lung cancer, in particular, IARC estimates that approximately 387,000 will die in 2018...
According to the findings of the study, which was funded by MSD, the Netherlands tops the list when it comes to the highest number of new lung cancer cases, contrary to Sweden, which has the lowest number.
As for the number of deaths caused by lung cancer, Poland comes first followed by the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Greece. 
Now see how vaping was dismissed, with only Konstantinos on the defense:

According to Economist Intelligence Unit’s Alan Lovess, who presented the guidelines of the study, there is a need of a new tobacco control strategy or at least a strategy to prevent or control e-cigarettes, that are making “smoking increasingly cool among young people.”
“I think this is like a wolf in sheep clothing,” the President of Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology Ioannis Boukovinas said. He also referred to a recent survey suggesting there was a 78% increase of e-cigarettes in high schools between 2017 and 2018 in Greece.
“It seems to be less harmful, but it’s not proven. The long-life side effects are unknown and we have to do research,” he said, highlighting the need for an intervention at the political level since these students could be lung cancer patients in the future.

Andriukaitis: E-cigarettes under thorough scrutiny, and not the way to stop smoking

Electronic cigarettes are currently known for being “less damaging” than traditional smoking but they still cause harm and people should not use them to cut smoking, EU health chief told
Both the WHO and EU are skeptical toward electronic cigarettes. Particularly, the EU executive says there are other ways to stop smoking and in any case “it’s not a cool thing”, according to Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.
On the other hand, advocates of the so-called “next generation products” insist they are much less harmful than smoking. They also refer to studies saying that these products can help smokers kick the habit completely.
For Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, a research fellow at Onassis Cardiac Surgery in Greece, e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products could be an alternative to quit smoking, especially for people who are fully addicted.
“I think health professionals should have as a main goal for their patients, to quit smoking. Of course, the ideal option is to quit on your own; but the second best option is to quit with some help,” he noted.

“But the primary goal is to quit and for those smokers, who are unfortunately the majority, who cannot follow those options or they don’t want to be prescribed any medication, the physicians and healthcare professionals should recommend alternative nicotine products like electronic cigarettes,” Dr Farsalinos told EURACTIV at the E-cigarettes summit in London last month.

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