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Scientific Evidence Reveals E-Cigarettes Are Safer Than Tobacco Cigarettes

Posted 2nd Aug 2014 to The Science of Vaping


Last month two British Medical Association (BMA) committee members, Dr Chris Valentine and Dr Paul Nicholson, published their drastic recommendations concerning the safety of electronic cigarettes in the British Medical Journal. Dr Valentine and Dr Nicholson believe e-cigarettes need to be removed from the market until data from long-term studies are conducted and analyzed. However, respected cardiologists Dr Farsalinos and Dr Polosa strongly disagree with this proposal, stating “Of course, unexpected health consequences may occur in the medical profession as it has been also the case with several medications…But this cannot be used as a valid argument to oppose e-cigarettes.”

Although there have been some reports of children becoming sick after drinking or being exposed to e-liquids, the rate of accidental poisonings due to vaping products compared to household cleaning items is exceptionally low. The sad hard truth is preventing these accidents in the home should ultimately be the responsibility of the parents. Despite your opinions regarding who is responsible for keeping these children out of harms way, obviously something had to be done to keep these potential poisonings from occurring. The majority of e-liquid manufactures and vendors have taken additional steps to ensure their products are kept safe and out of the hands of children by including age-verification systems, warning labels, and childproof safety caps on their e-liquids and any other products which could be potentially dangerous to children.

Even after these safety initiatives were put in place to restrict underage usage of these products, several anti-vapor groups still rely on the same rhetoric that children are being marketed to by e-cigarette companies. Dr Valentine and Dr Nicholson believe “Nicotine in vapours is combined with other agents such as flavorings to increase their appeal to certain parts of the market especially younger people”. While this may seem like a great scare tactic statement to convince uninformed people that e-cigarette companies are attempting to hook minors, it is based on false information. According to the CDC the amount of non-smokers and youth using e-cigarettes is extremely small,

 only 0.5% of non-smoking adolescents has used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days

As the article points out, e-cigarettes were invented for smokers to have as an alternative to smoking, rather than traditional cigarettes which were created to convert non-smoking individuals to smokers. It is for this reason Dr Farsalinos and Dr Polosa believe it is unjustifiable to classify these devices as threats to public health due to the fact that they are not marketed or directed towards the entire population.

Farsalinos and Dr Polosa strongly believe that it is now time to update and “re-evaluate the lethal dose of nicotine…historically being set at 40-60mg”. This number was obtained through ambiguous and objectionable “self-experiments” conducted throughout the 19th century. However, current evaluations have adjusted the lethal dose of nicotine to 500-1000mg, with one patient even ingesting 1500mg of nicotine and surviving without any damaging health effects. Obviously these excessively high levels of nicotine are not recommended, but the health consequences have proven to be less detrimental than previously thought.

Lately there have been numerous debates regarding the potential effects that nicotine has on the lungs and in the promotion of cancer. Dr Valentine and Dr Nicholson present a recent review by Warren and Singh on the effects of nicotine related to cancer stating, “There is a worrying and sizeable amount of emerging evidence linking nicotine and a nicotine metabolite (NNK) to cancer promotion, metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy”. They continue on to say, “We should not be surprised that inhalation of noxious chemicals may cause direct lung injury”, a statement made without any supporting evidence or truth behind it. In fact, recent studies have shown the exact opposite to be true.

Various research, clinical studies, and self-reported surveys have revealed that smokers diagnosed with COPD and asthma that switched to electronic cigarettes saw tremendous progress in their health, an increased performance in their respiratory symptoms, and improved lung functioning. (Refer to article “No Heart Effects From Vaping”). This is a groundbreaking discovery because unlike combustible cigarettes, e-cigarette aerosol doesn’t induce respiratory aggravations, which patients with COPD or asthma are especially susceptible to.

As research continues additional evidence will become available to support the claim that e-cigarettes truly are much safer and less harmful to our health than tobacco products. Because more research needs to be conducted on these devices does not mean these products should be restricted or denied to smokers looking for a safer and more efficient method of nicotine delivery. Science has already proven e-cigarettes are dramatically safer and less toxic than combustible cigarettes, and through long-term studies the exact impact level of e-cigarettes will eventually be revealed.   

Full Article Available At: http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4597/rr/760890 

BMJ Letter Available At: http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3765/rr/760056 


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