Abstract for: E-Cigarettes for Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Policy-Focused ILE

Combustible cigarette use remains the primary cause of preventable death in the US and many countries worldwide. Electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) are an alternative delivery method that, according to the best evidence to date, are at most only 5% as harmful as combustible cigarettes. As a result, e-cigarettes offer great potential for harm reduction for smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking, through switching completely away from cigarettes (“switching”). However, e-cigarettes are also controversial, particularly with respect to high rates of use among youth and concerns about a “gateway” to cigarette use. Although this concern is unfounded based on population-level smoking trends, political pressure to protect youths has motivated restrictive policies against e-cigarettes in the US, which have been shown to have unintended consequences in terms of driving youth and adults alike towards more harmful combustible cigarette smoking. This work in progress is an interactive learning environment (ILE) intended for policymakers that allows them to interact with various e-cigarette policies and their projected impacts on the total tobacco-related mortality burden in the US population. An underlying model and ILE have both been built, but need continued refinement with respect to calibration and validation.