MAYO CLINIC: E-Cigarettes Well Accepted By Patients Before Elective Surgery
Study says harm reduction strategy may likely be explored further in near future
The Mayo Clinic has released their report “Feasibility of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in Surgical Patients” of an observational study where patients facing elective surgery were given Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices (ENDS) before and two weeks after elective surgery. The study was conducted between December 2014 through June 2015. The goal to reduce the risk of possible complications during the healing process after surgery is important. Smoking cigarettes can bring post-operative complications to patients, and they are always encouraged to stop smoking before surgery. The purpose of the study was to see if patients would “cut down” or eliminate cigarette consumption before and after surgery using these products. Long term abstinence was not considered as part of the study.
Patients in the study were encouraged to use the “ENDS” whenever the desire arose instead of smoking a cigarette. Daily use and behavior was recorded during the study and findings with a 30 day follow-up with patients showed 17% were abstinent from smoking, 51% planned continued use, and “average cigarette consumption decreased from 15.6 per person to 7.6 over the study period”. The study stated “use is feasible and well-accepted in surgical patients.”
Controversy or Conclusion
Controversy on the effectiveness and safety of ENDS has been debated worldwide. Organizations like the American Lung Association have not accepted them as an effective tool in reducing or eliminating smoking, yet according to a Public Health England report last year, e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than cigarettes and have no evidence of harm to bystanders. Public Health England’s report went on to say e-cigarettes do help people stop smoking and encouraged stop smoking clinics to promote e-cigarettes as another way toward harm reduction for smokers.
A Means To An “ENDS”
The medical community standard has been to suggest traditional nicotine replacement products like the patch and gum instead of e-cigarettes despite low success rates among smokers. When studies like that of the Mayo Clinic show success in the reduction and elimination of combustible smoke from smokers, e-cigarettes may be a means to an “ENDS” for smoking as we know it. Organizations like M.O.V.E. support e-cigarettes over other methods to stop smoking. With the Mayo Clinic seemingly on board, “ENDS” may become more widely accepted by the medical community as an alternative in the larger goal of tobacco harm reduction.