E-cigarrettes have been in the UK since 2007, and keep growing in popularity. With the latest headlines on the dangers of vaping, one could ask, how safe are vapes? More and more people are turning to vaping rather than smoking, citing reasons such as less harmful, less smell and tastes better, however, many are under the illusion that vaping is harmless.
A study published in Environmental Science & Technology, identified harmful emissions in the vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants, though at a much lower level than in conventional cigarettes.
The BHF would not advise non-smokers to start smoking e-cigarettes. In a 2018 report, Public Health England (PHE) estimates they are 95 per cent less harmful than regular cigarettes.
The problem lies with the conflicting advise as to whether or not vaping is harmful or not.
Doctor Andrew Thomber, Chief Medical Officer at Now Patient said: “Public Health England’s 2015 independent evidence review found that, based on the available evidence, vaping is around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.
“In the past three months, some studies have suggested that exposure to nicotine-free e-cigarettes harms the cardiovascular system of healthy young adults and that vaping may hamper the lungs’ ability to fend off infections.
“However, in the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
“They aren’t completely risk free, but so far have been found to carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.”
Doctor Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF said: “We would not advise non-smokers to take up e-cigarettes, but they can be a useful tool for harm reduction and to stop smoking. Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Programme Lead at PHE added: “We know that e-cigarettes are probably not completely safe, but that’s not the issue.
“The question is, are e-cigarettes safer than the alternatives?
“And, for almost all e-cigarettes users the alternative is smoking, and it’s really important that they understand how much safer e-cigarettes are, compared to smoking.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco kills half of its consumers – that’s more than eight million people every year, with 1.2 million being passive smokers.
Presently, more than 38 million people smoke e-cigarettes. In 2011, there were about six million consumers, in 2021 this number is supposed to climb up to 55 million.