Who remembers when e-cigs first broke onto the scene? It’s not really a moment that anyone can forget. After all, it’s not often that a revolutionary and disruptive product comes out. Smoking has been around for thousands of years and tobacco has been used the same way over its lifetime. Now we have a healthier alternative that uses battery powered technology to help people get off tobacco. That’s pretty powerful if you think about it.
However, here’s the catch. Like everything in life, there was major pushback on e-cigarettes. They were, and continue to be, scrutinized to no end. At the end of the day, this is a good thing. We are all looking to enhance public health. The issue is that this scrutiny has be exacerbated beyond our wildest beliefs.
We understand why. Smoking has killed millions of people worldwide. A new product like e-cigs initially seemed to be a similar tool. So, the initial scrutiny was warranted. However, it’s been over a decade since e-cigs came to market and there is a plethora of research showing that e-cigs are practically harmless. And herein lies the problem.
It’s not the fact that research continues on. This is a good thing. It’s not the fact that government is looking for regulation. This, too, is a good thing. It’s the fact that we have over a decade of solid research suggesting that e-cigarettes are barely, if at all, harmful, and yet the naysayers continue unabated in their bashing. Well, if all of the past research has failed to keep them in line, this new study should keep them quiet for good.
So, the number one fear tactic the anti-vaping community has used is that electronic cigarettes are harmful, especially to people who do not smoke. Whether it’s second hand smoke or simply people who may pick up an e-cig even though they have never smoked before, the negative Nancy’s would always say e-cigs are very detrimental to the health of non-smokers.
The new study, though, says otherwise. In a first ever, the researchers used a three-and-a-half-year period, and exposed non-smokers to vapour every day over this time frame. They then compared this data to daily e-cigarette users over the same time period. It’s truly a very detailed piece of research so if you’d like to go over it yourself, you can do so here. However, we will summarise it for you:
There were “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.” The research went onto say that even the heaviest of vapers failed to show ANY evidence of lung injury compared to a non-smoker. Furthermore, blood pressure and heart rate were the same as the group of non-smokers. And, the best line, straight from the research itself: “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.”
The only thing the anti-vaping community can focus on now is comparing ex-tobacco smokers who now vape to non-smokers, and skewing that data to show that somehow e-cigs harmed their lungs (which we now know is not possible).
Another win for e-cigs!
Photo Credit: National Eye Institute/CC BY 2.0