Research indicates yet another reason vaping is much safer than smoking for the health of your lungs
The past year has marked a lot of changes for vaping acceptance and legislation. While some countries, such as the UK, have decided to embrace vaping as a useful tool, others have placed harsh restrictions on e-cigarette and vaping products. In the US, the FDA inquiry into the vaping industry has led to a ban on flavored vapor products sold in many stores. FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, was a presence in the media, sharing his negative views on vaping, calling youth usage an epidemic, and generally hyperbolizing the issue of underage vaping.
One item that Gottlieb brought up frequently in his appearances was his belief that there is not enough long-term scientific data on the effects of vaping. Yet, the Commissioner must not be looking very hard, as there are a plethora of studies conducted globally. It seems like every week more data arises in support of vaping and its benefits over smoking. A particularly insightful study analyzed the respiratory system of both vapers and smokers, to uncover the similarities and differences.
That particular study, conducted out of Ohio University, took a look at the effect vaping has on the lungs of users. The team was led by Dr. Amir Farnoud, and took a look at the impact vaping has on pulmonary surfactant, which is a lining on the inside of the lungs which helps protect lung tissue. Smoking has long been known to cause immense amounts of damage to this lining by toxifying it. This damage eventually causes issues in the lungs and makes breathing a laborious task.
The experiment was conducted by testing multiple e-liquids, measuring factors such as how far into the lungs vapor travels, different levels of exposure, and how the vapor interacts with lung tissue. The same measurements were taken using combustible tobacco products so they could be appropriately compared.
The results strongly indicated that “E-cigarette vapor regardless of the dose and flavoring of the e-liquid did not affect surfactant interfacial properties.” They did acknowledge that the vapor had some light effect on the structure of the surfactant, but the impact or severity of this was not readily known. However, the results did confirm that only cigarette smoke, not vaping, disrupts the surfactant. They believe this is because the tar produced by burning cigarettes severely impacts the ability of the surfactant to protect the lungs.
This study is another which shows the benefits vaping has to offer when adequately utilized. If smokers can switch and decrease the amount of damage they are exposing themselves to, it would have massively positive results for their health. A study published last fall in the Journal of Aerosol Science found that a vaper’s likeliness of developing cancer, beyond genetic disposition, is around 57,000 times lower than a comparable smoker. Public Health England famously reported back in 2015, that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, a conclusion that has since been supported by many other studies.
On top of having fantastic harm reduction potential for smokers, vaping has also been shown to be a highly successful tool for smoking cessation. One study, out of the University of Louisville, took an in-depth look at the effectiveness of nicotine patches and gums, vaporizers, and prescription drugs like Chantix. Not only were the e-cigarettes found to be more effective at helping smokers quit, but they also excelled at assisting smokers to stay off of cigarettes long term.
While this new crackdown on vaping flavors is likely to have repercussions for many vapers and smokers alike, it is immensely important that the vaping community not let it stop the work currently being done to help smokers quit. The CDC just recently released information that shows the smoking rate across the country is at an all-time low. Now that vaping in America for many will be limited to tobacco flavored e-liquids, vapers must band together and support each other so fewer people will end up returning to the destruction and harm smoking does to their body.
As more studies are released in support of vaping, the minds of the general public should start to open up to the idea of vaping for harm reduction and smoking cessation. While there’s always a chance they won’t agree, the only way to get the ball rolling is to start pushing. If more people truly understand the benefits vaping has to offer, it could eventually lead to other, more positive, changes in legislation.
Do you think studies like these are helping legitimize vaping? What’s the biggest challenge facing the legitimization of vaping? How can we improve the public perception of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.