Smoking Lungs

Will a New E-cigarette Study Finally Bring Conclusive Evidence?

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Avid fans of e-cigarettes and vaping are no strangers to the various research reports about electronic cigarettes. Whether the results shed a positive or negative light about the health effects of vaping, you’ve seen the studies throughout the years.

Unfortunately, many of these reports have been full of hyperbole and used ridiculous / unrealistic conditions, which have ultimately led to sketchy, and to some extent absurd, conclusions. For example, a recent “research report” noted that e-cig flavours need to be banned because it harms fertility. However, some positive e-cig research has also ultimately led to unconvincing results.

Oftentimes, we hear the usual rhetoric coming from these reports: “vaping is ‘x’% better than tobacco,” or “we saw an increase in ‘x’% amount of people moving from e-cigs to tobacco.” These reports then generally end with the same conclusions: “however, more research is needed to study the effects of vaping on the body.”

Put aside the fact that this essentially means these reports are, for all intents and purposes, worthless. It’s been a decade already. 10 years! And we still don’t have conclusive evidence? Smoking tobacco was not suspected of causing lung cancer until 1912. That became conclusive in 1950 by UK and US scholars. The total time lapse of that? 38 years.

Yet, that was 100 years ago. We didn’t have the resources, cutting edge technology, and medical knowledge that we do today, which is why it’s not surprising that it took 38 years to link smoking to lung cancer. Furthermore, we have many more resources at our disposal today. We should have answers by now, but alas – nothing. This is especially true with regard to long term safety effects of electronic cigarettes.

Now, we all know there are two sides to the e-cigarette debate. The ones against e-cigs frequently point out that vaping is not safe. The pro-vaping community, however, keeps a position of ‘harm reduction.’ They have always noted that anything outside of breathing fresh air is never 100% safe. But, they realise that quitting smoking isn’t a walk in the park and the public health hazard that comes along with it (hence their ‘harm reduction’ stance). In fact, when Public Health England openly endorsed e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco, they clearly stated that there is still an element of risk/harm involved. It’s always been the position of the vaping community.

But with little research into the effects of vaping, especially regarding long term effects of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, the pro vaping community has been somewhat kept at bay by the anti-vaping bloc. These naysayers couldn’t care less about, in their terms, “supposed harm reduction” without clear evidence. Well, it’s about time someone did something about that!

The Landmark Study

Finally, it seems to be happening. Researchers at St. George’s University of London are looking for 100 volunteer smokers to participate in a new study that will provide concrete evidence on the long term safety of switching from tobacco to e-cigs. The research will, “assess the impact on the risk of cancer, brain activity, and quality of life indicators such as sleep.”

Participants will be required to provide blood, saliva, and urine samples, and must undergo electroencephalography which is a non-invasive brain-monitoring tool, over a one month period.

Ironically, this study is part of the EU’s Smoke Free Brain project. The EU is well-known to vapers as vocal opponents of e-cigarettes. However, this study is being conducted in coordination with the aforementioned Public Health England – a notable proponent of vaping. Thus, we are confident results won’t be full of bias and absurd “logic.” It will be presented with evidence-based facts and actual science.

Why This is Important

For years, vaping adversaries were having none of it. They wouldn’t listen to a word of what pro-vaping people had to say. This was led by Big Tobacco, whom had the ears of government policy makers. So, pro-vapers were trapped in a corner, for years. But, we kept on fighting until our voices were heard. To many vapers surprise, we got them to listen to us and hear our side. As it currently stands, we are no longer debating whether or not e-cigs are completely safe or harmful. The scientific community, along with governments worldwide, are now solely debating on how much harm reduction e-cigs provide. This is a monumental win. We went from looking at an all-out ban to “wait, we need to verify this harm reduction talk.” And that’s exactly why this is important.

We already have several years of studies and evidence pointing to the harm reduction benefits of electronic cigarettes. While nothing has been absolutely conclusive yet, all of the past conclusions show that e-cigs reduce toxicological harm to our bodies by an incredible amount. Should this study work out as planned, we’re confident that not even Big Tobacco will be able to push back. As The Standard pointed out, this study “has the potential to drive policy,” and that would be huge.

Photo Credit: Flickr – Ptamzz/CC BY 2.0