By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Here in the United States, most health officials believe that e-cigarettes pose a threat to public health, but in Britain and many parts of Europe the feeling is that e-cigarettes should be recommended for smoking cessation.

So, how can there be such a fundamental difference with one group stating harm and the others praising the benefits?

It all has to do with how health officials in the UK and the U.S. view public health. Policymakers across the pond focus on reducing harm, while those in the states favor an approach that minimizes risk through prohibition and abstinence. The issue there is that cigarette smoking is a much bigger problem in Europe than the United States and preventive efforts have not been as strong.