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E-cigarettes far less harmful than cigarettes, says Lancet researcher at INFORMS Conference
Date:6/16/2014

A London School of Economics researcher examining the public and private dangers of drugs argues against demonizing e-cigarettes in a presentation being given at a conference of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). He also calls on public officials to recognize that alcohol causes greater harm than other recreational drugs and more public attention should be paid to controlling its harmful effects.

Lawrence D. Phillips, an emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, will present his research group's findings about the relative risks of different drugs at Advances in Decision Analysis, a conference sponsored by the INFORMS Decision Analysis Society (DAS). The conference takes place June 16-18 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

A recent workshop facilitated by Prof. Phillips led a group of researchers to write a letter to the World Health Organization advocating against the classification of e-cigarettes as tobacco. They argued that e-cigarettes should be classified as a device for fighting nicotine addiction. . " It is well known that 'people smoke for the nicotine, but die from the smoke'," he says.

In his upcoming presentation, Prof. Philips draws on a study about drugs in the United Kingdom he co-authored in 2010 that was published in The Lancet. "Drug Harms in the UK: A Multi-Criteria Analysis" has lessons that can be applied in the U.S. and across the world, he says.

The 2010 results are based on an expert panel that was called upon to use participants' judgment to assess the relative harm of 20 different drugs. Because the drugs are illegal and data is extremely difficult to obtain, the participants relied on their collective knowledge and experience to score the drugs and a decision analysis model to aggregate the judgments.

Similar results were obtained in 2013 among a group assessing drug risk in Europe. A .993 correlation between the two panels, which contained different
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Contact: Barry List
barry.list@informs.org
443-794-5182
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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