David Levy, from the Georgetown University oncology center, says that evaluation of the efficiency of replacing smoking is increasing despite risks

North-American economist David Levy, 71, said that awareness among researchers and experts on electronic cigarettes is growing regarding the benefits of the product to replace smoking.

Electronic cigarettes should not automatically be seen as something bad”, stated Levy. He participated on Tuesday (May 14, 2024) in the E-Cigarette Summit, a conference of researchers on the topic in Washington, capital of the USA.

Levy began researching cigarette consumption in the late 1990s, when he was pursuing his doctorate at the University of California in Los Angeles (USA). Today he is a researcher at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the oncology center at Georgetown University in Washington. He is a professor at the institution.

There are reasons to be suspicious of a new product, less harmful than cigarettes, but with a risk that is not zero. But people are more inclined to realize the benefits of e-cigarettes”, he stated.

Electronic cigarettes are devices that replace smoking with vapor containing nicotine. There are 2 types: vapes, or vaporizers, with flavored liquid, and those that heat tobacco cartridges. In both cases there is no combustion. Therefore, no smoke is produced, the most harmful thing about cigarettes.

The main benefit, in the researcher’s opinion, is the fact that electronic cigarettes are a tool to stop consuming conventional cigarettes: “Smokers who completely switch to e-cigarettes have a very high chance of quitting smoking,” he stated.


In Brazil, Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) has prohibited the use of electronic cigarettes since 2009. On April 19, 2024, the board analyzed the matter again and unanimously decided to maintain the ban.

Levy said that “in general, banning is not a good practice”. But he stated that there were defensible reasons for Anvisa’s decision. “It’s difficult to say that it’s not a good regulatory decision because the research is almost all in high-income countries. Whether this applies to other countries is still undefined. Therefore, I am reluctant to say what should or should not be done”, these.

The economist advocates that more research be carried out on the effects of cigarettes in middle-income countries, such as Brazil.

Levy stated that the ban on electronic cigarettes could prevent them from being used with greater intensity and efficiency to replace smoking. He said there is resistance from US doctors to encourage this replacement. In the UK it’s different: the healthcare system prescribes electronic cigarettes for people who want to quit smoking and are unable to do so by other means.

Doctors, by training, are very cautious. Only in 20 to 30 years will it be possible to have a clear idea of ​​the risk associated with electronic cigarettes. I don’t think doctors in the US will encourage people to use e-cigarettes in the short term.”, said Levy.


Vapes would be especially useful, in Levy’s assessment, for eliminating smoking among people over 50. In the population of this age group in the USA, smokers make up 20% of the total. In the group aged 18 to 35 it is currently only 5%. 10 years ago it was 13%.

The benefits of reducing smoking in the US are already apparent, Levy said, in the reduction of heart disease. To reduce the incidence of cancer, we will have to wait longer. This type of disease most frequently affects those over 55 years of age. As smoking has fallen among younger people, the effects of this are potential, yet imperceptible.

Levy stated that the variety of flavors in electronic cigarettes is important to encourage the use of this type of product by people over 50 years of age. However, it is a controversial topic because they can also attract younger people. Levy said the benefits outweigh the negative effects.

The use of electronic cigarettes by young people who have never smoked is another concern. Levy stated that there are signs that this risk is lower than commonly thought: “Clearly [cigarros eletrônicos] are addictive. There is not very clear evidence yet. But what is available suggests that those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to stop using them than those who smoke.”.

The use of electronic cigarettes reached 35% of the population aged 18 to 24 in the USA 5 years ago. It is currently at 20%.

Source: https://www.poder360.com.br/regulamentacao-dos-cigarros-eletronicos/percepcao-de-beneficio-do-vape-cresce-diz-economista-dos-eua/

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