This latest piece of evidence is once again making vaping more viable as a harm reduction tool
For the past decade, as vaping has grown in popularity and gained more and more interest from the public, the most significant questions have been about the long-term effects of vaping. There has been a growing consensus among researchers and results that vaping is substantially safer than smoking combustible cigarettes. Because vaping is so new research has been focused mostly on its viability as a smoking cessation tool and, naturally, the effects vaping has on an individual’s health. We have learned from these studies about improved lung function and lowered risk of diseases and cancers, but for the most part we still don’t know about other effects vaping has on the body, effects that are not life and death.
It is refreshing then to find published works that focus on one of these non-threatening scenarios, in this case, it is a study of how vaping affects an individual’s vocal chords and overall vocal quality. This study, published in the Journal of Voice, found that vaping has a smaller impact on the vocal cords than smoking does, proving once more that vaping is separate from smoking.
The research was done by a team out of the Health Science University of Adana City Hospital, in Turkey, and was led by Dr. Birgül Tuhanioğlu, a head and neck surgeon. Dr. Tuhanioğlu and his team worked to understand if vaping is associated with the same otolaryngological diseases and effects as smoking.
To keep things statistically comparable they studied a group of 81, otherwise healthy, men. 21 Vapers, 30 smokers, and 30 non-smoker/non-vapers. All of the subjects were tested for a variety of vocal measurements. F0 which is the Fundamental Frequency of a voice; jitter percentage, which is a measure of the variations in the F0; shimmer percentage and shimmer decibels, which are concerned with the changes in amplitude during speech; and finally harmonics-to-noise ratio which measures the harmonic integrity of a voice.
When analyzing the data, some patterns emerged. Fewer of the vapers had elevated scores on the Voice Handicap Index than the smokers did. Also, the shimmer decibels were much higher among smokers than the other two groups, while the harmonics-to-noise ratio was lower. Obviously, to the average person, this doesn’t mean much, but to Dr. Tuhanioğlu and his team, it was evident that the effects of vaping are substantially less than those of smokers. This study once again showcases significant differences between the results of vaping and smoking.
While this may appear to have a much smaller impact than other studies, this study is substantial in that it once again highlights the difference between smoking and vaping, and shows still that vaping is an excellent tool for harm reduction. There are a plethora of other studies that support vaping for harm reduction and smoking cessation purposes. In 2015 Public Health England published a now-famous report that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. More recently in the Journal of Aerosol Science, there was a study released that found the excess lifetime cancer risk for vapers is 57,000 times lower a comparable smoker.
Other studies are supporting vaping as a vital tool in the fight against smoking. A study out of the University of Louisville compared vaping’s effectiveness at smoking cessation with other devices on the market, like nicotine gums, patches, and even prescription drugs. That team found that vaping was more effective at helping smokers quit than anything else.
The lack of long-term or reliable evidence has been a long-standing gripe in the discussion around vaping. Now that vaping is more established and so many trusted, respected institutions have conducted research indicating their value as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool, it’s time for these researchers turn their attention to more detail-oriented studies. That way we can begin to answer some of the smaller more daily questions regarding vaping. That is why it’s so wonderful to see a study like this, that once again it proves vaping is a less harmful option than smoking. It is evidence like this that will clarify vaping, so it’s not so mysterious to the masses. The more questions like this that are answered, the more willing the general public will be to accept vaping for its true harm reduction and smoking cessation abilities. Well-rounded evidence like this is imperative to showcase the difference between smoking and vaping.
Does it surprise you that vaping is so different from smoking? Should more studies on non-life threatening conditions be pursued? How can we help get more people in the general public to understand how useful vaping is as a harm reduction tool? 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.