When taking up vaping, many people, including myself, ask if e-cigarettes are harmful – a sensible question to ask. After spending some time reading through articles, reports, opinions and advice from medical circles it became apparent that the most toxic element I would need to be concerned about in e-cigarettes was Nicotine and this was only toxic in large volumes, massively larger than the amount inhaled through e-cigarette vapour. Coming to the world of vaping as a smoker, it was clear that there were fewer health risks associated with vaping and that vaping instead of smoking would be extremely positive change in my lifestyle.
Despite the occasional ‘scare tactic’ article in the media about vaping, the prevailing wisdom in heath circles and in the general public is that vaping is by far a healthier alternative to smoking. To further add to the body of evidence which supports this claim, a recent study shows that e-cigarette vapour is almost as harmless as air, which even to the already convinced vapour, will come as a pleasant surprise.
The tobacco giant – British American Tobacco recently funded research which seems to suggest that e-cigarette vapour could be as safe as air. The study uses human lung cells and robotic smokers to investigate the health risks and effects of smoking cigarettes and e-cigarette vapour.
The research was a joined venture between British American Tobacco and MatTek Corporation, which produces models of human cells used in laboratory experiments. The experiment involved using a smoking robot designed to emulate the smoking / inhaling process of humans. The smoking robot was used to expose the model lung cells to cigarette smoke, e-cig vapour from two different brands and plain air.
When the cells were exposed to traditional cigarette smoke for six hours, the cells died – not a surprise. However, much more surprisingly, when the cells were exposed to an aggressive and continuous dose of e-cigarette vapour, the damage to the airway tissue was “similar to that of air”.
British American Tobacco plans to conduct further research and test a wider range and brand of e-cigarettes and e-liquids to further prove their findings.
The new findings have been welcomed by health professionals and those campaigning for healthier lifestyles. Health officials are being encouraged by such professionals to promote vaping to smokers in a bid to achieve a public health victory.
So, no doubt the debate on whether or not e-cigarette vapour is safe will continue, and despite the arguments, the science and research based argument continues to add to the ever growing body of evidence that e-cigarettes are not as harmful as some misleading opinions and thoughts on the subject suggest.