Nov 11, 2016

Announcer: Need Reliable health and wellness information? Don't listen to the guy in the cube next to you. Get it from a trusted source, straight from the doctor's mouth. Here is this week's listener question on The Scope.

Interviewer: All right. This week's listener question: e-cigarettes, are they a viable alternative to smoking or a way to wean yourself off of cigarettes? This particular listener has a father who smokes e-cigarettes and says that it's his attempt to quit smoking. We're going to ask one of our experts right now. Dr. Clint Allred is a cardiologist at University of Utah Health Care. Are e-cigarettes a useful tool to try to quit smoking?

Dr. Allred: You going to get some split things about this. In the United States, providers are generally skeptical about the efficacy and the safety of the eCigarette. The FDA, in fact, decided to take the production of e-cigarettes, manufacturing of them, under their surveillance. I think we can expect to see some more robust literature, scientific studies moving forward to tell us whether or not e-cigarettes are going to be a safe and effective option to help someone stop smoking more than just nicotine patches, maybe more than the medications, or maybe not.

Interviewer: You said American doctors are skeptical. Does that mean that other doctors around the world are not?

Dr. Allred: Yeah. If you go across the pond and talk to colleagues in Europe, you'll find a much more open arms approach to this, particularly in England. So they are much more willing to offer this as a cessation strategy for their patients.

Interviewer: Do they know something you don't?

Dr. Allred: Well, again, the literature is lacking.

Interviewer: For everybody.

Dr. Allred: It is.

Interviewer: Regardless.

Dr. Allred: My recent review of the literature, there's some sporty stuff. Some Italian studies have done some work, but not well controlled, not well randomized, and not anything along the lines that I would call robust enough for me to put a blanket endorsement on this.

Interviewer: If a patient came to you and wanted to quit smoking, an eCigarette, then, would not be your first recommendation?

Dr. Allred: It wouldn't be.

Interviewer: You have some other tools in the arsenal that would be a little bit more effective and have more research behind them to show that they actually work?

Dr. Allred: From my perspective, until I had more robust data, I would look at those alternative options first. Taking into consideration that every patient is different, but it wouldn't be my first line of recommendation.

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