The government-backed Stoptober campaign in 2017 featured electronic cigarettes for the first time, while the IBVTA and Public Health England (PHE) have created media telling smokers how they can ‘Stop Smoking With An E-cigarette In 2018’.
There are a wealth of anecdotes pertaining to vaping success stories and how making the switch to electronic cigarettes have completely changed people’s lives. But we also know that nothing can answer the question ‘Is Vaping Safe?’ better than a credible source.
Let’s take a look in detail at the available information to answer the question ‘Is Vaping Safe?’ We will review the long-term vaping studies. As well as the opinion of Public Health England (PHE) and Cancer Research UK, who have both spoken out about the benefits of vaping.
LONG-TERM STUDY SHOWS NO REDUCTION IN LUNG FUNCTION OF VAPERS
The long-term health effects of vaping is a subject that commands much debate. Both within the world of vaping and beyond. We know cigarettes are harmful, smoking has been popular since the early 1900’s. Due to the relatively short time that e-cigs have been available, anti-vaping groups cling to the time frame as a way to prove smoking is bad.
Yet, Dr. Riccardo Polosa and researchers from the University of Catania have now taken a big step. They want to neutralise these concerns, and thanks to a 3 and a half year study they might be able too. It shows no evidence of health concerns in long-term e-cigarette use among vapers who have never smoked.
This research is the first of its kind. This long-term research tracks people who have never smoked. It aimed to: “disentangle responses driven by chronic exposure to EC (electronic cigarette) aerosol emissions from those related to previous smoking history”.
ENCOURAGING RESULTS THAT WARRANT FURTHER STUDY FOR VAPERS
The study had participants who had never smoked but were vapers. Also, participants who had never smoked or vaped. Baseline figures, quality control and results tracking was rigorous.
Using accurate equipment and methodology. These procedures were in place to track the following Health outcomes. Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, as well as exhaled biomarkers of airway inflammation.
Due to the scarcity of vapers who had never smoked, the sample size consisted of 9 vapers. Also, 12 control subjects who had never smoked or vaped. This is a limitation of the study. Though as the sample size was small, they were able to check all individual data sets. One by one to detect signs of negative changes and found no such changes’.
This is a very encouraging piece of research which concluded by the lead author stating:
“we found no decrements in spirometric indices, development of respiratory symptoms, changes in markers of lung inflammation in exhaled air or findings of early lung damage on HRCT, when compared with a carefully matched group of never-smoking non-EC users.”
Due to the small sample size, the subject needs further investigation. The conclusion also states:
“While the sample size was small, the results of this study may provide some preliminary evidence that long-term use of ECs is unlikely to raise significant health concerns in relatively young users. Further studies in a larger sample of EC users with and without a history of tobacco smoking are warranted.”
THE CHALLENGE OF FINDING “NEVER SMOKERS” WHO VAPE
One of the key issues flagged was that in Italy, as in the UK, vapers that have never been smokers are rare. Vapers who have never smoked tobacco are far less likely to continue to use e-cigarettes in the medium or long term. The nicotine delivered in e-cigarettes is far less addictive than had previously been assumed. It is not comparable with the addictiveness of traditional combustible cigarettes.
By the time the study finished three of the 16 original participants were excluded. Two because they stopped vaping completely. One other because they began vaping sporadically. Another four did not come back for final testing at the end of the study. Quite heartbreaking for researchers that had worked so hard to find these “unicorns”.
Interestingly, of the 15 non-smokers in the control in the study three were also excluded. One due to a city move, two because they had started smoking tobacco. This does not appear to have been the case for any of the vapers. We hope will be “never smokers” for the rest of their lives.
Now let’s take a closer look at the PHE e-cigarette study
PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND CONDUCT GROUND BREAKING E-CIGARETTE STUDY.
The report was conducted and compiled by several academics. These include Professor Anne McNeil from Kings College London and Professor Hajek from The London School of Medicine.
Professor Peter Hajek said:
“My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health.”
This must be one of the strongest positive statements about e-cigarettes by an academic to date. When discussing the gateway theory of vaping leading to smoking, the report stated:
‘We strongly suggest that use of the gateway terminology be abandoned. Until it is clear how the theory can be tested in this field.’
Professor Anne McNeil concluded:
“There is no evidence that e-cigarettes are undermining England’s falling smoking rates. Instead, the evidence consistently finds that e-cigarettes are another tool for stopping smoking. In my view, smokers should try vaping and vapers should stop smoking entirely.”
PHE STATE VAPING IS 95% SAFER THAN SMOKING. BUT WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR VAPERS?
The report itself should be welcomed and applauded. It is fantastic news that this report exists. What we need to see next is how this report will impact upon the Public Health policies of the UK. Will this create a positive change in attitude towards e-cigarettes?
The report mentions Totally Wicked and the Article 20 legal challenge. Unfortunately, the TRPR will not disappear in a puff of blue smoke. The evidence shown by PHE proves once again that the TRPR regulations need to be treated carefully and with consideration.
IN SUMMARY, WHAT DOES THE PHE E-CIGARETTE STUDY TELL US?
The Key findings of the report include:
The current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking.
Nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking.
There is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.
The first long-term study on the effects of quitting smoking by switching to vaping has been completed with resounding success.
CANCER RESEARCH UK ADVOCATE VAPING AFTER CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY.
“Nicotine, Carcinogen, and Toxin Exposure in Long-Term E-Cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Users: A Cross-sectional Study”
Conducted by a number of medical professionals. Including lead author, Dr Lion Shahab from University College London.
The research was undertaken on 3 groups of people. Out of those who smoked at the start of the survey;
One group continued to smoke.
One group switched to e-cigarettes only.
The final group continued to smoke and also used e-cigarettes.
After six months, the participants who switched from smoking to vaping had far fewer cancer-causing substances and toxins present.
NNAL is a toxic chemical, strongly associated with lung cancer. It was 97% lower in those who switched to using just e-cigarettes compared to those who continued to smoke. Those who continued to smoke and also use e-cigarettes saw no difference in the level of NNAL in their body.
Not only were levels of NNAL drastically lower in the group who used e-cigarettes only. The number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is reduced drastically in this group. Health professionals are confident this proves vaping is far safer than smoking cigarettes.
Dr Lion Shahab said:
“Our study adds to existing evidence showing that e-cigarettes and NRT are far safer than smoking. It suggests that there is a very low risk associated with their long-term use. Our results also suggest that while e-cigarettes are not only safer, the amount of nicotine they provide is not noticeably different to conventional cigarettes. This can help people to stop smoking altogether by dealing with their cravings in a safer way.”
E-CIG STUDY SUPPORTED BY CANCER RESEARCH UK.
The study is by health experts. Including Cancer Research UK. They urge smokers to see through the bad press that perpetually surrounds vaping. Instead to see the positive impact electronic cigarettes can have.
Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, Alison Cox said:
“This study adds to growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco. It suggests the long-term effects of these products will be minimal.”
The study, coupled with ITV’s coverage adds further weight to Public Health England’swell-documented figure. Vaping is 95% healthier than smoking.
Fraser Cropper, managing director of Totally Wicked LTD said:
“This is a very positive and credible study. It yet again affirms the enormous potential these products have. They can support smoking cessation and risk reduction for smokers. We continue to wait for the UK government to take a positive position. To actively to encourage smokers to consider vaping. If this and preceding body of academic evidence is not enough, then what is required for the UK government to stop equivocating and confusing the UK smoking population about the risks and benefits of vaping?
We hope that this will be a milestone for vaping. It should help to debunk the negative attitude peddled by the mainstream media. Thus increasing people’s confidence in e-cigarettes and leading to millions of lives being saved.”
YOU WANT TO BE A VAPER NOT A SMOKER, WHAT’S NEXT?
The difference between quitting smoking and making the switch to vaping is that you don’t need to make a decision: the finality that smokers usually feel is avoided; there doesn’t need to be the final cigarette; or the ceremonial cigarette packet stomping; there is absolutely no pressure, and more than that, no fear.
You are embarking on a journey to go ‘smokefree’. It might take you a day, it might take 100 days, or you may never stop smoking completely, all of these are fine. We are not here to judge, we are here to help you on your way to becoming a vaper.
Start by reading our simple guide for new vapers. It is full of great hints and tips for making the switch.