Roadside shops open in Italy during the coronavirus crisis

E-cigarettes reduce hospital burden, say doctors

Italy is a closed country. Only grocery stores, tobacconists and pharmacies are allowed to stay open during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. And now also vejp shops. After a great effort by a concerned doctor.

The Italian doctor Riccardo Polosa saved vejp shops from an almost total ban on opening during the worst COVID-19 epidemic in the world.

"We have over one million vejpers in Italy. The risk of them returning to smoking is high if the vejp shops are closed, but not the tobacco shops." Riccardo Polosa told American magazine Filter.

E-cigarettes help COPD patients

Riccardo Polosa is one of the world's leading researchers on e-cigarettes and smoking harm reduction. His research includes patients with severe smoke-related lung damagein particular COPD, asthma and hypertension. For several years, he has published clinical studies on the impact of vejpning on ex-smokers with chronic diseases. According to him, e-cigarettes are an effective way to keep seriously ill patients off tobacco, saving their lives.

'Many vejpers have chronic diseases caused by smoking. Those who use only electronic cigarettes have improved their symptoms. But if they went back to smoking, we would see a significant increase in people with respiratory diseases. Something that would significantly increase the pressure on hospitals."

Taking vejpning seriously

Riccardo Polosa approached authorities and politicians through the country's e-cigarette industry organisation. The aim was to persuade them to allow vejp shops to remain open alongside traditional tobacco shops during the COVID-19 epidemic. In other countries, most recently in France, similar attempts have been unsuccessful. But not in Italy.

"I don't know if it was because of the upcoming taxation of e-cigarettes, or something else. But they listened. It shows that they actually take e-cigarettes and their harm reduction potential seriously." Riccardo Polosa told Filter.

According to a new study is a major del of those most affected by the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Italy are smokers. Today there are 16 million smokers in the country.

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