E-cigarettes may be ‘no better’ than regular cigarettes
Lab tests find vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells although results would not necessarily be same in living person, say researchers
The e-cigarette – the smoking alternative that has gone from nothing to a sprawling, unregulated multibillion dollar business in less than a decade – could be “no better” than traditional cigarettes, according to a new study.
The study, which its authors admit is inconclusive, comes after public health officials in Europe, the US and the UK have backed the use of e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking.
Tobacco remains one of the great public health hazards. In Britain, an estimated 2.6 million people now vape, and e-cigarettes will be licensed and regulated in 2016 as aids to break the tobacco habit.
Scientists in the latest study, based in the US, established that cells treated with nicotine vapour are more likely to be damaged or die than those exposed to a nicotine-free variety.
They concluded: “Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public.”
“Our recent world-leading review found that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking – the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke, including carcinogens, are either absent in e-cigarette vapour or are at significantly lower levels than in tobacco smoke,” he said.
“The best thing a smoker can do is quit completely, now and forever, and we need to provide smokers with accurate, balanced information on different quitting methods.”