Is vaping safe?
“More cancer-causing chemicals found in e-cigarettes”, “Vape Wholesale
IS a gateway to smoking”, “Belfast woman’s electronic cigarette ‘bursts into flames’”. There are plenty of scare stories about e-cigarettes, but are they really a dangerous trend, or a useful way to quit smoking?
Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes or vapourisers, are battery-powered devices that mimic the action of smoking, offering nicotine (in most cases), but without the toxic effect of tobacco smoke. They’ve been in the UK since 2007, and keep growing in popularity.
More people may be using them, but e-cigarettes are not harm-free. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology in July 2016 identified harmful emissions in the vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants, though at a much lower level than in conventional cigarettes. The BHF would not advise non-smokers to start smoking e-cigarettes. Public Health England (PHE) estimates they are 95 per cent less harmful than regular cigarettes.
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “We would not advise non-smokers to take up e-cigarettes, but they can be a useful tool for harm reduction and to stop smoking.”
According to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), almost half of the UK’s 2.8 million e-cigarette users are former smokers, suggesting they are helping people to stop smoking.
However, a 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that “electronic cigarettes may function as a ‘gateway drug’ that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs.”
Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Programme Lead at PHE, said: “We know that e-cigarettes are probably not completely safe, but that’s not the issue. The question is, are e-cigarettes safer than the alternative? And, for almost all e-cigarette users the alternative is smoking, and it's really important that they understand how much safer e-cigarettes are, compared to smoking".u2022eney7485yyWEEEEDD