Ethical issues raised by a ban on on the sale of electronic nicotine devices

Hall, Wayne, Gartner, Coral and Forlini, Cynthia (2015) Ethical issues raised by a ban on on the sale of electronic nicotine devices. Addiction, 110 7: 1061-1067. doi:10.1111/add.12898

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Author Hall, Wayne
Gartner, Coral
Forlini, Cynthia
Title Ethical issues raised by a ban on on the sale of electronic nicotine devices
Journal name Addiction   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0965-2140
Publication date 2015-07-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/add.12898
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 110
Issue 7
Start page 1061
End page 1067
Total pages 7
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Some countries have banned the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Aims: We analyse the ethical issues raised by this ban and various ways in which the sale of ENDS could be permitted.

Method: We examine the ban and alternative policies in terms of the degree to which they respect ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice, as follows.

Results: Respect for autonomy: prohibiting ENDS infringes on smokers’ autonomy to use a less harmful nicotine product while inconsistently allowing individuals to begin and continue smoking cigarettes. Non-maleficence: prohibition is supposed to prevent ENDS recruiting new smokers and discouraging smokers from quitting, but it has not prevented uptake of ENDS. It also perpetuates harm by preventing addicted smokers from using a less harmful nicotine product. Beneficence: ENDS could benefit addicted smokers by reducing their health risks if they use them to quit and do not engage in dual use. Distributive justice: lack of access to ENDS disadvantages smokers who want to reduce their health risks. Different national policies create inequalities in the availability of products to smokers internationally.

Conclusions: We do not have to choose between a ban and an unregulated free market. We can ethically allow ENDS to be sold in ways that allow smokers to reduce the harms of smoking while minimizing the risks of deterring quitting and increasing smoking among youth.
Keyword E-cigarettes
Tobacco harm reduction
Nicotine use
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 12 Mar 2015, 06:52:20 EST by Coral Gartner on behalf of Centre for Youth Substance Abuse