The first ever US E-cigarette Summit met last week in Washington, DC, reports MedPage Today, and the debate over the devices raged on. 

Kenneth E. Warner, PhD, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, framed the debate between those he called the “e-cigarette skeptics,” who focus on the potential risks to children and the “e-cigarette enthusiasts,” who believe the products represent a novel new tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction.

He noted that in the United Kingdom the public health community and policymakers have largely taken the enthusiasts view and embraced e-cigarettes, while in the United States, major health organizations largely view the products as harmful and actions taken by policymakers have focused on protecting kids from them.

“The issues that divide the skeptics and enthusiasts are numerous and often very profound,” Warner said, adding that in his judgment the principal concerns driving the opposition to e-cigarettes — that they are gateway products to smoking, that they will re-normalize smoking, and that the nicotine they deliver will harm kids’ still-developing brains — are “overblown.”