“We have not learned:” ERS leaders respond to
BMJ article on the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation

ERS leaders have reacted strongly to a paper supporting the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool
published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), stating that the article shows that we have not learned from
the past.
Professors Mina Gaga, Tobias Welte and Thierry Troosters – respectively the ERS President, President-
Elect and Vice-President – alongside the ERS Publications Committee Chair Professor Andrew Bush,
collectively responded to the article on 5 February via the BMJ’s rapid response service.
The response makes a clear statement about ERS’s stance on e-cigarettes: “Human lungs are made to
breathe clean air and any substance inhaled long term may be detrimental.”
The statement raises two key points: “(A) There is little evidence that e-cigarettes are an aid to smoking
cessation and much evidence that tobacco manufacturers are advertising e-cigarettes as a bridge to starting
nicotine and as a vehicle for long term continuation”; and “(B) no-one, expert or otherwise, can credibly
assert that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco in the long term, given that they contain a whole new tranche
of unregulated and unstudied compounds being inhaled into the lung.”