Surveys show that most Americans under the age of 35 believe that smoking e-cigarettes does not cause as much lung damage when compared with traditional cigarettes. The new national survey, which included over two thousand people aged 35 and under, showed that almost half of the respondents believed that smoking an e-cigarette is much less harmful to the lungs than traditional cigarettes. Men in particular held to this view, with 54% of men reporting that they agreed e-cigarettes are safer.
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What Do We Know?
According to Peter Shields, MD, deputy director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, says that although research so far is positive, there is little that we actually know about these new electronic products. Although e-cigarettes have rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years and have been hugely influential in increasing the amount of smokers who successfully kick the habit, Shields reminds us that we still have little idea regarding where in the spectrum e-cigarettes are when it comes to safety. He stated that the need to figure out how e-cigarettes affect people in terms of health is a top priority.
Currently, research is underway in order to potentially throw some insight on the safety of e-cigarettes when compared to their traditional counterparts. Healthy volunteers who currently use tobacco products are being recruited for two clinical studies which aim to evaluate the health impacts of using electronic cigarettes or ‘vaping’, as it is widely known. Shields says that currently, there is minimal data available regarding the direct health effects of using electronic cigarettes, but this has not stopped these products from gaining huge popularity amongst both smokers and non-smokers of all ages. He went on to say that researchers are somewhat concerned that people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful, despite the lack of research to back this claim up. For anybody who is considering switching to an e-cigarette, it’s vital to always purchase e-liquid which has met all FDA regulations as products which have failed to meet this standard could contain potentially harmful chemicals.
In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended their regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping accessories. Prior to this, there were no regulations that prohibited retailers from selling e-cigarettes or e-liquid to people under the age of 18. The clinical study by OSUCC-James is being carried out in order to provide the FDA with concrete, scientific data which can then be used to guide the consumer regulation of e-cigarettes and related products. The studies will document the health changes of both smokers and non-smokers when smoking both regular tobacco products and e-cigarettes. The studies are expected to allow the FDA and National Cancer Institute to see, in real time, how the lung tissue differs in traditional cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users, and non-smokers.
Do you use an e-cigarette? Would you say that they are safer, or healthier than traditional cigarettes based on your own experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.