Q: Is vaping safer than smoking cigarettes?
A: Even the most ardent of e-cigarette and vapor product opponents generally concede that all scientific evidence points to vapor products being far less hazardous than smoking cigarettes. Even Mitch Zeller, Deputy Director of the Center for Tobacco Products of the Food & Drug Administration has commented, “If we could get all of those people [who smoke] to completely switch all of their cigarettes to noncombustible [e-]cigarettes, it would be good for public health.”
There are over 150 published studies about e-cigarette toxicity, chemical composition, effects on the human body, and cessation. Every month, as the scientific literature grows supporting e-cigarettes as being far less hazardous than smoking, the support for harm reduction policies among public health and tobacco control advocates grows as well. Indeed, in 2013 more than 50 scientific experts signed a letter to the World Health Organization calling vapor products “among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century — perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives.”
In 1976, Professor Michael Russell wrote in the British Medical Journal, “People smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar.” In the near-40 years since that statement was made, very little has changed in the scientific literature. There is wide agreement in the field of nicotine and tobacco research that compared to the hazards of inhaling burning smoke into the lungs, smoke-free nicotine use is not a sizable threat to health (except for those who are pregnant or with rare conditions). In fact, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency recommend nicotine replacement therapy products like the nicotine gum and patch as long-term substitutes or smoking.
Unfortunately, misinformation from activist groups has led many members of the general public to inaccurately because that vaping may be as harmful as smoking. For example, vaping opponents often reference the fact that certain chemicals that have been detected in e-cigarette liquids or vapor. Critically, they fail to note the actual levels of these chemicals found. In doing so, they ignore a central tenet of toxicology – the dose makes the poison.
For more information, please view the below video, which features Professor Peter Hajek, Professor of Clinical Psychology
Queen Mary University of London, speaking about the benefits offered by vaping.