Latest Research on Vaping and Health: Are e-Cigarettes Safe?
By Space Coast Daily // February 5, 2019
The safety of e-cigarettes and their effect on our health is a debate which has been raging essentially since their introduction onto the commercial market in the mid-2000s.
As a relatively new product there remains a level of caution and even fear among consumers about the potential long-term health effects from vaping. In reality, it is too early to truly know the long-term health effects of these products.
As new studies are being conducted into e-cigarettes, we are building a clearer picture of the impacts of vaping on our health. Let’s take a look at the latest research on the subject and what it tells us.
Vaping Is Much Healthier Than Smoking
In 2015, Public Health England, a UK Government Agency, released a report which showed that vaping was 95% less harmful to health compared to smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco. The following year, the prestigious Royal College of Physicians released a review which supported these claims.
The peer-reviewed journal the Annals of Internal Medicine published a study in 2017 compared the levels of toxins and carcinogens present in smokers, with former smokers who switched to vaping.
The researchers found that the former smokers who had switched to vaping at least 6 months prior tested for significantly lower levels of the harmful substances in their saliva and urine. This included a 97% reduction in the levels of the toxic chemical NNAL.
There seems little doubt that vaping is much safer than smoking. After all, smoking cigarettes has been shown to have some alarming health impacts, including dramatic increases in the likelihood of developing at least 14 types of cancer, as well as chronic health conditions including heart disease and stroke.
Concerns remain over the long-term health effects of vaping, as these products simply haven’t been the market long enough for us to see these manifest. However, scientist have stressed that there are no proven long-term health effects of vaping, such as in this report from the US National Academy of Sciences, despite some of the hype to the contrary.
Vaping Helps Smokers Quit
Over recent years, a number of researchers have released findings which support the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit their cigarette habit. Additionally, health bodies such as the National Health Service in the UK have recommended vaping as part of treatment to quit smoking.
Just last month, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which examined the results from adults who attended the UK National Health Service looking to quit smoking. The study involved a total of 886 participants, which were randomly divided into two groups.
The first group was given nicotine-replacement products of their choice (which could include product combinations), while the second group was given an e-cigarette starter pack. The study found that the group who received e-cigarettes were twice as likely to abstain from smoking for 12 months compared to the group given nicotine-replacement products.
Some have expressed a concern that using vaping to quit cigarette smoking simply replaces one habit with another. However, because e-liquids come in varying nicotine strengths, smokers can use these to gradually step down and eventually eliminate their nicotine intake.
There are even some e-liquids available with zero nicotine content. If you want to use vaping to quit smoking, a vape calculator will help you to control your nicotine intake and eventually kick the habit.
The added advantage of swapping from smoking to vaping is that although e-cigarettes contain nicotine they do not contain the harmful and carcinogenic chemicals that are found in tobacco.
This means that when smokers switch to vaping they will immediately begin to experience the health benefits associated with quitting, such as improvements in lung health, better circulation and higher oxygen levels in the blood, and lower risk of cancer.
E-Cigarettes Are a Risk For Teens
Concerns over the vaping risks for teenagers have received much attention in the media recently, which has been reflected in a number of scientific studies. One of the major worries expressed by concerned groups is that teens may start to vape, and this could lead to them smoking cigarettes later.
Figures show that around 37% of US high school seniors vaped in 2018, despite vaping being illegal for those under 18 years of age. Additionally, health experts have warned that teens who are unlikely to start smoking cigarettes may begin an e-cigarette habit, leading to nicotine addiction.
However, despite the fears, there is little evidence that this will lead to tobacco addiction. In fact, a review published in late 2018 showed that e-cigarettes actually reduce the incidence of use of tobacco-based products amongst teenagers.
Nevertheless, the US Government has introduced stricter controls on the sale and packaging of e-cigarettes, e-liquids and accessories in order to prevent their purchase and use by minors.
The leading US vape company Pax Juul has even indicated they are working on technology which will require age verification for customers to be able to use their products. Regulations are also in effect in the UK and Europe to deter the sale of vaping equipment to those under 18.
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