According to Public Health England, e-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes – by 95% – and most smokers can quit tobacco completely if used in conjunction with a smoking cessation service.
We hear the same things here in the U.S. by a lot of doctors and scientists, only to have their findings misinterpreted and broadcast in the media using misleading information to the contrary.
Personally, I believe this is creating more harm to smokers who are trying to quit tobacco cigarettes. And in my opinion, not only is the media to blame, but detractors of personal vaporizers are helping to spread these media misnomers.
So while the government in the UK seems to be supporting the claim that e-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes, the US is heading in the opposite direction – to the detriment of current tobacco smokers who would like to quit, but are finding it too difficult.
Click below to enlarge this related infographic from PurpleBox for more information on how the UK observes the use of electronic cigarettes, and their position that e-cigs are less harmful that cigarettes.
However, I recently located an interesting study done here in the US that our media seem to ignore. Here are some of their findings and conclusions:
Toxicological studies have shown significantly lower adverse effects of EC vapor compared with cigarette smoke.
However, self-reported data, highly self-selected study populations, and the cross-sectional design are some of the most common limitations of research surveys. Taken together, findings from surveys and follow-up studies of vapers have shown that EC use is relatively safe.
Clinical studies evaluating the effects of short-term EC use on selected cardiovascular and respiratory functional outcomes have shown that even if some harmful effects of vaping are reported, these are considerably milder compared with smoking conventional cigarettes.
Although evaluating the effects of passive vaping requires further work, based on the existing evidence from environmental exposure and chemical analyses of vapor, it is safe to conclude that the effects of EC use on bystanders are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.
Conclusion – E-cigs Are Less Harmful Than Cigarettes
Existing evidence indicates that EC use is by far a less harmful alternative to smoking. There is no tobacco and no combustion involved in EC use; therefore, regular vapers may avoid several harmful toxic chemicals that are typically present in the smoke of tobacco cigarettes.
Indeed, some toxic chemicals are released in the EC vapor as well, but their levels are substantially lower compared with tobacco smoke, and in some cases (such as nitrosamines) are comparable with the amounts found in pharmaceutical nicotine products.
Surveys, clinical, chemistry and toxicology data have often been mispresented or misinterpreted by health authorities and tobacco regulators, in such a way that the potential for harmful consequences of EC use has been largely exaggerated [Polosa and Caponnetto, 2013].
It is obvious that some residual risk associated with EC use may be present, but this is probably trivial compared with the devastating consequences of smoking. Moreover, ECs are recommended to smokers or former smokers only, as a substitute for conventional cigarettes or to prevent smoking relapse; thus, any risk should be estimated relative to the risk of continuing or relapsing back to smoking and the low efficacy of currently approved medications for smoking cessation should be taken into consideration [Moore et al. 2009; Rigotti et al. 2010; Yudkin et al. 2003].
However, any regulatory decisions should not compromise the variability of choices for consumers and should make sure that ECs are more easily accessible compared with their main competitor, the tobacco cigarette.
Consumers deserve, and should make, informed decisions and research will definitely promote this. In particular, current data on safety evaluation and risk assessment of ECs is sufficient enough to avert restrictive regulatory measures as a consequence of an irrational application of the precautionary principle [Saitta et al. 2014].
ECs are a revolutionary product in tobacco harm reduction. Although they emit vapor, which resembles smoke, there is literally no fire (combustion) and no ‘fire’ (suspicion or evidence that they may be the cause for disease in a similar way to tobacco cigarettes). Due to their unique characteristics, ECs represent a historical opportunity to save millions of lives and significantly reduce the burden of smoking-related diseases worldwide.
So what’s my opinion?
I’m a huge advocate for personal vaporizers. I’ve been vaping for over two years now, starting about six years after I quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. They’ve helped me with calming my nerves and definitely have kept me from going back to smoking cigarettes.
In m opinion, e-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes, and I strongly advise anyone who’s trying to quit smoking and is having problems with traditional smoking cessation methods to try using an e-cig.
They’re better for your health, may reduce some adverse health effects you’re already suffering, and by far e-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes for people around you and in keeping your house cleaner too!