“E-cigarettes are not 100% risk-free but they are clearly much less harmful than smoking. Any smoker considering e-cigarettes should switch completely without delay.” Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at Public Health England.

A lot of studies on how vaping affects the health reached a consensus on one simple fact, that is, vaping is definitely safer and less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. It is important however, to note that these studies had investigated more the substances and ingredients used in vaping products such as their chemical composition and the level of harm it can cause before consumption. There is not enough evidence on the effect of vapour produced and the other chemicals released as a result of vaping.  Studies on such matters are still in incipient and experimental stages therefore, discussing health risks associated with these would only make a premature and uninformed statement.

A small study conducted in 2018 and published in the Thorax BMJ (British Thoracic Society) journal indicates that vapour produced by electronic cigarettes deactivates key immune cells, and generates an inflammatory reaction in the lungs. According to Science Daily, these effects are similar to those observed in patients who smoke cigarettes or in patients affected by chronic pulmonary disease. This study concluded that vapour released by electronic cigarettes irritates the lungs accelerating the production of inflammatory chemical substances, and at the same affects the activity of alveolar macrophages, cells which role is to protect the lungs. Normally these cells ingest all foreign particles that accidently enter the lungs: dust, bacteria, allergens, and get rid of all potentially harmful particles. The only conclusion smokers can draw from studies like this is to always remain sceptical and only consider vaping as a short-term alternative if their aim is to give up smoking.

“In terms of cancer causing molecules in cigarette smoke, as opposed to cigarette vapour, there are certainly reduced numbers of carcinogens, they are safer in terms of cancer risk – but if you vape for 20 or 30 years and this can cause COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], then that’s something we need to know about. I don’t believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes – but we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe”, states David Thickett, main author of the study.