The health risks of e cigarettes is a controversial topic with new opinions and reports coming out day by day. Electronic cigarette side affects and health risks are hotly debated but the scientific research on this topic has progressed significantly in a short space of time. The following is a compilation of authoritative studies tackling the big questions: electronic cigarette safety, are e cigs bad for you, and do they work.
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Chemicals in Electronic Cigarettes Pose Minimal Health Risk
Released Aug 8th 2013 by Drexel University School of Public Health
Determine the levels of contaminants in electronic cigarettes and the resultant effects on a users health.
An expert review of more than 9,000 observations of the chemistry of e cigarette vapor and e-liquid was made. Levels of contaminants a user and non user (second hand) were exposed to were determined.
The levels of contaminants in an electronic cigarette that a user is exposed to is insignificant and far below any level that would pose health risks. Exposure of contaminants to non users is also insignificant and of no concern. E cigarettes are as low risk as other nicotine products such as nicotine replacement therapies and smokeless tobacco. These alternatives are about 99% less harmful than cigarette smoking.
Long-Term Effects of Inhaled Nicotine
Published 1996 in Life Sciences
To study the health effects of long term exposure of inhaled nicotine.
Rats where exposed to high nicotine concentrations for 2 years. Nicotine was breathed by the rats for 20 hours a day, five days a week for 2 years in concentrations twice that found in heavy smokers. Rats where then examined for any health effects as a result of the exposure.
The study found no increase in mortality in the subjects or increase in tumours or cancer. There where no macroscopic or microscopic lung tumours and no increase in damage to pulmonary cells. The study did note a reduction in body weight of the exposed rats. The study concluded no indication of any harmful effects from exposure of nicotine when inhaled in its pure form.
Second Hand Exposure to Vapors From Electronic Cigarettes
Published December 11, 2013 in Oxford Journals
To study and evaluate the risk of second hand exposure to vapor from electronic cigarettes including nicotine and other toxicants found in tobacco related products.
The study measured nicotine, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and aerosol particles emitted from second hand vapour of electronic cigarettes. A smoke machine was used to produce vapour from 3 different e cigarette products and compared with tobacco smoke.
An e cigarette when used in an indoor environment may expose second hand users to nicotine but unlike tobacco cigarettes did not expose second hand users to toxic tobacco related chemicals. Furthermore the nicotine exposure from electronic cigarettes was 10 times less than from tobacco cigarettes.
A Longitudinal Study of Electronic Cigarette Users
Publishing on February 2014 in Addictive Behaviors
To study the changes in behaviour of e cigarette users related to smoking and nicotine use over a 12 month period.
The study took a range of participants using electronic cigarettes from an internet survey and assessed their use of tobacco and e cigarettes over a monthly and yearly time frame.
Most e cigarette users where former smokers (72%) taking 150 puffs per day and using 16mg strength nicotine on average. 93% of users where still using e-cigarettes after 1 month and 89% after one year. Of the former tobacco smokers only 6% had relapsed after 1 year.
46% of participants who both smoked cigarettes and used e cigs had stop smoking cigarettes after one year. Those that did not quit tobacco reduced their cigarette consumption by almost 50% after 1 month.
The study concludes electronic cigarettes may assist in prevention of relapse to smoking for former smokers and aid in cessation and reduction of cigarette use in current smokers.
E Cigarettes Are Not A Gateway To Smoking
Presented Oct 2013 at the American Association for Cancer Research
To assess the gateway effect of e cigs in adolescents and whether it contributes to use of cigarettes.
A survey of 1300 college students with an average age of 19 was conducted. Questions where asked related to nicotine and tobacco consumption alongside e cigarette usage.
No evidence was found to suggest electronic cigarettes where a gateway to smoking tobacco. 3.3% of those surveyed said e cigs where the first form of nicotine they had used. Of that group only 2.3% (1 person) reported to have started smoking cigarettes. The vast majority of those that had tried e cigarettes where not currently using any nicotine devices or tobacco. Most current electronic cigarette users are using them to quit smoking or at least to reduce harm from cigarettes.
E-Cigarettes At Least as Effective as Nicotine Patches Pioneering Clinical Trial Shows
Published September 7, 2013 in the Lancet
To investigate the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation compared to nicotine patches.
657 current smokers from New Zealand where split into 3 groups. 1 with nicotine patches, 1 with e cigarettes and 1 with no nicotine e cigarettes. Participants where then studied over a 6 month period to assess their nicotine and tobacco behaviour.
7.3% of participants using e cigs had quit smoking after 6 months compared to 5.8% of those using nicotine patches. Of those that had not quit 57% of those using electronic cigarettes had reduced their daily cigarette use by half.
Electronic cigarettes where more effective to help smokers reduce their cigarette consumption and participants where much more enthusiastic about using e cigs than patches.
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