Local consumers groups lauded the results of a new study that shows e-cigarettes or “vapes” are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.
“We welcome independent studies on e-cigarettes supported by reputable organizations such as Cancer Research UK and published in respected scientific journals like Annals of Internal Medicine. Nicotine users who want to stop smoking deserve to receive accurate, evidence-based information on safe and effective smoking cessation tools and far less harmful alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes,” said Joey Dulay, President of the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA).
Dulay is referring to the new long-term study published in Annals of Internal Medicine that revealed e-cigarettes are less toxic and safer to use compared to conventional cigarettes. Established in 1927 by the American College of Physicians, Annals of Internal Medicine is one of the most highly cited and influential journals in the world.
“This new long-term study bolsters the existing evidence showing that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than conventional cigarettes and should be considered as a viable alternative for nicotine users looking to completely avoid the deadly carcinogens, smoke and tar found in conventional cigarettes. Smoking is a leading cause of sickness and death worldwide, and therefore smokers should be provided with all the support and evidence-based information that they need to help them stop smoking,” said Tom Pinlac, President of The Vapers Philippines.
The study found that people who swapped smoking regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for at least six months, had much lower levels of toxic and cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) in their body than people who continued to use conventional cigarettes. Researchers analyzed the saliva and urine of long-term e-cigarette and NRT users, as well as smokers, and compared body-level exposure to key chemicals—a first. Previous research into the toxicity of e-cigarettes has focused on assessing concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals within the products themselves, or the vapor they produce—never in e-cigarette users themselves.
The saliva and urine analysis showed that ex-smokers who switched to e-cigarettes or NRT had significantly lower levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens in their body compared to people who continued to smoke tobacco cigarettes. But those who used e-cigarettes or NRT while continuing to smoke, did not show the same marked differences, highlighting that a complete switch is needed to reduce exposure to toxins.
“Our study adds to existing evidence showing that e-cigarettes and NRT are far safer than smoking, and suggests that there is a very low risk associated with their long-term use. This means some doubts about the safety of e-cigarettes may be wrong. Our results also suggest that while e-cigarettes are not only safer, the amount of nicotine they provide is not noticeably different to conventional cigarettes. This can help people to stop smoking altogether by dealing with their cravings in a safer way.” – LEAD AUTHOR DR. LION SHAHAB
The study was conducted by researchers from University College London and King’s College, London, United Kingdom; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, funded the study.
“Around a third of tobacco-caused deaths are due to cancer, so we want to see many more of the UK’s 10 million smokers break their addiction. This study adds to growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco, and suggests the long-term effects of these products will be minimal.”- ALISON COX, DIRECTOR OF CANCER PREVENTION, CANCER RESEARCH UK
The study’s results are consistent with the findings of the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England, which both concluded that e-cigarettes are around 95 percent less harmful than smoking and may be contributing to falling smoking rates among adults and young people in the UK.