As the argument continues to rage about the pros and cons of e-cigarettes, the European Respiratory Society has nailed its colours firmly to the mast of not supporting their use.

At the ERS congress in Munich, the world’s biggest respiratory meeting with over 22,000 registered delegates, research is being presented that casts aspersions on the benefit of e-cigarettes. Some of the studies include an analysis about  the short_term effects which establishes a link between the devices and asthma and emphysema in a mouse model and one which shows that e_cigarettes were found to cause similar changes to the cells in the lungs that are seen with normal cigarettes.

There is also research being presented in Munich which found that the devices could be used as a successful quitting aid, while another study shows a lack of consensus among doctors advising patients. However, the ERS itself says that it agrees with the recent report from the World Health Organisation which called for tougher regulations, including a ban on indoor use

The ERS states that it is opposed to the use of unregulated e_cigarettes, given that “while the short_term negative impact on health appears not as great as tobacco cigarettes, the long_term effects of e_cigarettes are not known”. It goes on to say that “as a society grounded in scientific principles, ERS believes that the precautionary principle should be applied when scientific evidence is inconclusive”.

The society confirms that it agrees with the WHO proposal “and believes that a strong regulatory framework is required in particular to protect children, young people and non_smokers”. Furthermore, “there is a clear need for more independent research to find out both potential benefits and risks of these products”.