As e-cigarettes and vaping become more popular, the debate about their relative safety compared to smoking gets more heated. Despite having little valid evidence to support the contention that vaping is harmful, many anti-smoking groups have taken the position that e-cigarettes are a danger that should be avoided. Taxes and bans are everywhere in the United States, and headlines continually shout about studies that “prove” that e-cigarettes are dangerous, addictive, a threat to children and a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
A reality check shows that most of the studies done thus far on the effects of vaping show none of these things, and in some cases show the opposite. The numerous groups that want to scare people away from e-cigarettes spin data and misrepresent the facts. One major study from the United Kingdom that showed e-cigarettes to be approximately 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking was largely ignored by the U.S. media. But now, another British study is getting some attention on this side of the Atlantic, even though it once again shows that e-cigarettes are dramatically safer than regular cigarettes.
The study, conducted by Cancer Research UK and published February 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that people who quit smoking by using e-cigarettes decrease the toxins and carcinogens in their bodies as much as people who quit smoking by using nicotine replacement products like gums and patches.
Though the report on the study has been picked up by U.S. media, including CBS News and AOL, opponents of e-cigarettes have been quick to inject negatives into the conversation. The AOL report, along with a representative for the American Lung Association who was quoted by CBS, point out sharply that the study showed that quitting smoking 100 percent in favor of e-cigarettes would be necessary in order to have a dramatic reduction in toxins. However, a close look at the results of the study show that the same thing was found to be true with regards to nicotine gums, patches or lozenges.
In other words, someone who still smokes while using e-cigarettes or other nicotine replacement products is going to maintain a high level of toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies. Well of course they are; those toxins and carcinogens are still coming from the tobacco cigarettes they use. But opponents of vaping and e-cigs will use this one part of the study, as it pertains to e-cigarettes only, to warn that the study proves nothing about the benefits of e-cigarettes unless someone quits smoking cold turkey.
What the study truly shows is what has been shown in numerous studies before: e-cigarettes have no clear dangers and are delivering nicotine to people who are trying to quit smoking as effectively as other nicotine replacement products.