Doctors in the United Kingdom have publicly encouraged smokers to switch to vaping, citing studies that show e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes. Now more positive news comes from the country after a study on e-cigarettes and cancer. According to the study, inhaling vapor does not cause cancer.
Scientists say that smoke from cigarettes, even at very low concentrations, promotes the development of cancer cells in the lab. Using an established test called the Bhas 42 assay, researchers can predict the likelihood of different chemicals to cause cancer. Cigarette smoke was shown to produce cancer cells in concentrations as low as six micrograms per milliliter. But vapor from a test e-cigarette was shown to cause no cancer promoting activity at all, even in high concentrations of 120 micrograms per milliliter.
While this is positive news and adds more evidence that vaping is significantly safer than smoking, one problem with the study is that it was funded by a tobacco company. British American Tobacco, makers of the Vype e-cigarette, funded the study and the Vype was used in the experiments. Critics of vaping will of course attack this study as being biased, and even vape-friendly health experts may see a problem. Professor Peter Hajek from Queen Mary University said that though the results support “common sense” and other knowledge of vaping in general, it would be a good idea to have duplicate studies from independent researchers.
New vaping laws are about to come into effect in the UK this month, and they came about after a sting operation performed by the Royal Society of Public Health that found e-cigarette retailers selling e-cigarettes to people without asking them if they are currently smokers or not. Most of the new laws are common-sense measures involving labeling requirements and child-proof caps. There are, however, limitations being imposed on the amounts of e-liquid that can be sold per bottle.
This latest research by BAT is unlikely to change any of the laws, which are set to take effect on May 21. Though some in the UK vaping industry have expressed concern that the lower amounts of e-liquid per bottle could cause prices to rise, there is not a sense of fear that suppliers will be forced out of business or consumers will be unable to afford to buy vaping products.
Smokers in Britain have it on authority that vaping is safer than smoking because the National Health Service, which provides healthcare coverage to all citizens, has declared vaping to be safer and encourages smokers to switch. The service does warn that e-cigarettes are not completely without risks. Studies have linked vaping to heart disease, strokes and even DNA damage. Most of these studies have been declared biased or faulty by vaping supporters.
As for BAT, which also makes several popular brands of cigarettes including Lucky Strike, Benson and Hedges and Dunhill, the company says it is continuing to develop “alternative tobacco and nicotine products.” In the United States there is a concern that tobacco companies could take over the vaping industry if smaller vaping companies are forced out of business by cost-prohibitive testing requirements. In the UK there will be registration of vaping products required when the new laws take effect, but smaller companies are not expected to have difficulty complying.