Debunking the Myth of Inadequate E-Cig Research

There just isn’t enough research about the long-term effects. We need further studies to really understand whether they are really helpful for smokers who want to quit. Do these statements sound familiar? There is a very common myth seen in daily news related to electronic cigarettes. Everyone seems to think that there is little no research about e-cigs, but this is actually far from true.

Below, you can read an overview of 10 e-cig research studies that were completed in the last four years. There are many other studies that are not listed here, but these 10 are important because of the information each one uncovered. Next time you hear someone say that there hasn’t been enough research, show them a copy of this list and then ask them to reconsider that opinion.

Study #1: Health Status Improves After Switching to E-Cigarettes

In November 2009, independent university researchers did a survey to determine whether switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes influenced health. Results showed that 91% of smokers who switched to e-cigs had improved health and 97% were able to reduce or eliminate their chronic “smoker’s cough”. You can read the full study here.

Study #2: E-Cigs are Effective to Help Prevent Tobacco Related Mortality

In December 2010, Boston University of Public Health did a study to find out if e-cigarettes could reduce mortality risks related to tobacco. The results showed that “electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco.” You can read the details of the study here.

Study #3: E-Cigs Can Function As a Smoking Cessation Device

In November 2011, the University of Catania studied whether smokers could use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device. At the end of the six-month study, almost a quarter of participants had quit smoking completely and over half had reduced their cigarette use by at least 50 percent. You can read the full study here.

Study #4: E-Cigarettes Do Not Damage Heart Function

In August 2012, the Greece’s Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center studied how e-cigs and tobacco cigarettes impact heart function. Participants who smoked tobacco cigarettes showed “acute impairment of 4 parameters” of cardiac function along with concerning increase in heart rate and higher blood pressure. Participants who used e-cigarettes had only a slight increase in blood pressure and no significant impact on heart function. Read the full study here.

Study #5: E-Cig Vapor Causes No Risk to Public Health

In October 1012, the National Vapers Club did a study to determine how e-cig vapor impacted the environment and whether secondhand vapor put people at risk. The results showed that e-cig vapor did not pose any discernible risk to public health. You can read the full study here.

Study #6: E-Cigs Cause No Major Respiratory Effects

In February 2013, a new research study determined that e-cigs caused no acute respiratory impact. After comparing both first and second hand impact of e-cig vapor, researchers found that even second hand exposure to tobacco smoke was more damaging to lung function than first hand exposure to e-cig vapor. You can read the full report here.

Study #7: E-Cig Vapor Contains Few Toxins

In March 2013, a study from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute looked at the level of toxins present in vapor from 12 e-cig brands. The results showed that toxic compounds in e-cigs were up to 450 times less than the toxins from cigarette smoke. Researchers said that the rate of toxins was similar, or in some cases lower than toxins in nicotine inhalers that are medically approved and prescribed. You can read more about the findings here.

Study #8: Second Hand Exposure to E-Cig Vapor is Not Dangerous

In April 2013, French researchers found that cigarette smoke lingered in the air for 19-20 minutes. In contrast, e-cig vapor dissipated in 11 seconds. The research team concluded that second hand exposure to e-cigarette vapor does not present any real risk. Read the study here.

Study #9: E-Cigs Do Not Cause Cell Damage or Death

In May 2013, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Greece studied the cytotoxic effects of electronic cigarettes. After looking at 21 different e-cig brands, the researchers concluded that there was no evidence that e-cigs cause cell damage or death. Read the full study here.

Study #10: E-Cigs Help Smokers Quit Even If They Don’t Intend To

In June 2013, Dr. Richard Polosa released the results of his recent study about e-cigs. Dr. Polosa recruited 300 smokers that were not interested in giving up tobacco. After providing them all with e-cigarettes for one year, he found that 8.7 percent quit smoking. You can read the details of the study here.

As you can see, research about electronic cigarettes is growing each year. Which one of these studies has the greatest potential impact on public opinion of e-cigarettes? What other studies would you like to see performed?

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Author Focus: Katie Bercham
Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 2 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community... Read Full Profile >
  • Mick

    The studies are great and all… but they are also obsolete given the vast numbers of vapers in the world and absolutely no short, medium or long term health issues reported. I’m not saying there should be no study, hurrah for science, go for it boys, fill your boots.

    What I’m saying is that the scientists now have a another tool, they have the population of vapers to use as a confirmation or outright denial of their findings. If they discover X or Y might be dangerous and then see its not reflected in the 100 million vapers…then they need to re-evaluate their methodology.

    There comes a time when its pointless to carry out a study of something because if your findings don’t match observation in the population then its pretty clear that the study failed somewhere along the line to match the environment in the real world.

    That’s the very reason the FDA study in 2009 is absolute hogwash…because if you scaled it up to current levels of consumption of e-liquid then what you’d be saying is that several thousand folks a week should be appearing in hospital A&E departments suffering from diethylene glycol poisoning. Since that is observably not the case then the findings are utter rubbish. The study is simply an inaccurate reflection of events and likely the study itself introduced contamination into the results. The contamination element is pretty much the culprit and the FDA were fast enough to agree themselves when someone pointed out that nobody is getting sick.

    At the moment the ‘scare story’ studies are essentially flying in the face of observed reality. Its like investigating curry sauce as a study in toxicity and stating the study shows one of the participants died from some of the toxic properties, or got very ill, and since there were 1,000 participants this means it is dangerous to 0.1% of the population.

    Well that would be great and all… but if 0.1% of curry eaters aren’t dying in the real world…its also utter nonsense.

    In the case of vapers scientists must be careful that if their study is not reflected in the 100,000,000 users of the product that they will be called out on it.

    A more interesting study would be comparing e-liquid consumption to the consumption of air in the environment. My guess is, and its a guess, that the reason out e-cigs tend to get blocked and dirty at the point where air goes into the unit…is because they are stopping the soot, ash and toxins in the air. In other words I’m suggesting AIR is more toxic than e-cigarettes all considered.

    A win on that level would wipe the floor with any and all opposition to e-cigs since the entire ‘they are dangerous’ bandwagon would collapse on the spot.

  • Heather K

    Thanks for the links. I get a lot of questions from analog users about why e-cigs are better for your health than tobacco.
    Being a Mom the second hand aspect is vitally important to me- although I never smoked around the kids. I have successfully tapered to the 6mg nicotine level after starting at 36mg and a patch! I cannot begin to describe how much better I feel since switching to vaping. Of course this is subjective. It is great to have some data to back up my observations.
    Thanks again!

  • Jeremy

    MaxG: why is the Nicotine in E-Cigs somehow different to that which us smokers have been using for years? why does Nicotine need further study just because of the format ie. vapor, not smoke? The last XX years or so hasnt produced enough research on Nicotine? PG and VG havent been studied enough in the many years in medical dispensed drugs?

    The studies may be shorter term than ideal, but i’m not really sure what different long term effects might be uncovered, given the delivery mechanism is familiar, the drug is familiar and the carrier is familiar. I expect thats what the researchers thought too.

    Am I saying we have nothing more to learn and that people shouldnt reduce their Nic intake when they can? no of course not; but I disagree that there is anything truly significant left to know about Nicotine. (i’m using ~10-12mg/ml and ive only recently started btw)

    Great article, thanks!

  • MaxG

    I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone, I just think everyone deserves accurate information. The biggest problem with the article is the statement, “Electronic cigarettes do not damage heart function”, when in the actual referenced study they were only looking at acute dysfunction (immediate reactions) and didn’t consider any long term effects. They were also comparing cigarettes to 11 mg/ml e-juice which as most e-cig users already know is fairly low in nicotine compared to what most people vape.

  • MaxG

    No doubt e-cigs are better than smoking, but people should still be aware of the many health issues related to nicotine consumption. I personally used an e-cig (an ego-k) to quit smoking and then gradually reduced my nicotine concentration. Now I’m proud to say I’m vaporizing 0 mg/ml “juice” and loving it.

    For anyone giving up smoking for vaporizing I say, awesome! Congratulations! It is much better for you than smoking! However, whenever you are ready to reduce you nicotine levels please do so. You can do it slowly (try just a couple less mg/ml at a time) and you will realize a lot of additional health benefits.

  • johnhallal31

    This is a great compilation of studies, Katie. Electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than paper ones. How much are we supposed to study e-cigs before the point is driven home?

  • Rigo G

    It always seems to come down to the study performed by the FDA in 2009 where they found trace amounts of diethylene glycol, which can be found in antifreeze. This is all that anyone will bring up, but fail to mention the 10 studies listed in your post that talk about the positive things that come with vaping.

    There is also the excuse that the marketing of e-cigs will appeal to kids, but my son couldn’t even scrape up the $7 bucks to buy a pack of smokes much less the $70 or so bucks to get a legit starter kit! Ultimately the trail ends at the money, and big tobacco doesn’t like being the last to the party! Thanks for the post!

  • TomD

    After all the bad things we’ve heard about tobacco how could anybody think e-cigs aren’t better? Thanks for citing these examples, good article.