A public health expert in the US has been moved to ask a pointed question of the American Lung Association.

Writing on his blog, The Rest of the Story, Dr. Michael Siegel (pictured) asked whether the Association really hated smokers so much that it wanted to discourage them from making quit attempts using electronic cigarettes, despite new clinical trial evidence of their superiority to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

On Saturday, Siegel, who is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, referred to a one-year randomized, clinical trial that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and in which e-cigarettes were compared to NRT as aids to smoking cessation.

This, the most definitive study yet on the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation, found that one-year smoking cessation rates with e-cigarettes were nearly twice those obtained using NRT, Siegel said.

This was great news for smokers, as it suggested that switching to vaping was another smoking cessation option that could be added to those already available.

Siegel quoted the Association as responding to the study’s results by saying that the US Food and Drug Administration had not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. ‘We only support methods that are FDA approved and regulated,’ it said. ‘Switching to e-cigarettes does not mean quitting. Quitting means truly ending the addiction to nicotine, which is very difficult.’

In other words, Siegel said, the Association was saying that despite this clinical trial’s demonstrating that e-cigarettes are probably much more effective than NRT for smoking cessation, they would rather smokers continued smoking than make a quit attempt using electronic cigarettes.

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