Vaping – a safer, less harmful alternative

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Although smoking is one of the most common causes of mortality in the world – 7 million deaths annually- it still remains a ‘black OR white’ taboo subject, including at the level of the scientific communities, mass media, and the public sector. Only that the popular slogan ‘quit or die’ does not seem to be the most inspired since statistics show that currently there are approximatively 1 billion smokers in the world, a figure that is regarded to stay rather the same in the next 5 years. But what if smokers were presented safer, less harmful alternatives such as vaping instead of just preaching ‘quit or die’?

Numbers suggest that at the moment only 3 out of 10 smokers (5%) can successfully quit smoking unaided, or by using other approved anti-smoking methods (20-25%). This means that for those remaining 7 smokers who could not quit, vaping and e-cigarettes could very likely be life saviours. A clinical study financed by the New England Journal of Medicine conducted on 900 participants, showed that vaping devices are twice as effective in helping quit smoking in comparison to the standard methods such as NRT – nicotine replacement therapy. This result was supported by another research conducted by Cancer Research UK, which collected data from over 19,000 people who were struggling to quit smoking over a period of 12 months between 2006 and 2018. Those who chose to replace smoking with vaping were 95% more successful than the unaided group.

According to an analysis in the Journal of Addiction – Electronic cigarette use in the European Union, in Europe vaping and electronic cigarettes helped around 15 million people to reduce or stop smoking. Out of these, 6,1 million quit smoking for good thanks to vaping and 9,2 significantly reduced the number of cigarettes. Not just that, but the risk to which the health is exposed when vaping is strikingly lower. “Vaping is at least 95 less harmful than smoking, because vaping products contain just a fraction of the over 7,000 chemical substances (many harmful and carcinogenic) cigarettes contain” declares Public Health England.  In a further publication in early 2018, Public Health England added that the risk of developing cancer is 99.5 percent less with e-cigarettes than with tobacco cigarettes.


E-cigarettes eliminate the danger associated with passive smoking

As opposed to ‘real’ cigarettes who release smoke at both ends to the smoker on one and to those around on the other, vaping devices only release vapour on the end used by the vaper. As such, the only thing that will reach those around is the exhaled vapour, which is harmless. Scientific research didn’t identify any side effects of inhaling vapour produced by e-cigarettes, which goes to show that there isn’t any need to forbit vaping in public spaces and indoors. “E-cigarettes do not use combustion and there is no side-stream vapour (i.e. the smoke from the lighted end of the cigarette), so the only source of second-hand vapour is that exhaled by the user. The evidence to date suggests toxicants may be present but at much lower levels in second-hand e-cigarette vapour than second-hand cigarette smoke and there is no convincing evidence of harm to bystanders so far. Any harm to both users and bystanders from second-hand vapour is likely to be much lower than that of tobacco” reports Cancer Research UK.

Vaping does not increase the number of smokers

The popularity of vaping products does not lead to an increase in the number of under age young people who start smoking. According to the Action on Smoking and Health UK research, the e-cigarette is used only by 0,2% of non-smokers. Another study, published in April 2019 by Cardiff University, looked at 250,000 young people aged between 13 to 15. The study showed vaping did not lead to any increase in the number of underage smokers, and that in fact this is in continuous decline, so this fear is baseless.

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