Do Vapes Pose A Cancer Risk? Who to Believe.
The UK has a policy of supporting smokers to switch to vaping, but many smokers mistakenly worry that electronic cigarettes are as bad as or worse than smoking tobacco. Some recent media stories suggest that vaping poses a cancer risk. Are vapes dangerous to your health?
Professor Ahmad Besaratinia says ecigs are dangerous. The University of California researcher claims he has demonstrated it in a study.
He told journalists that e-liquid causes damage to cheek cells, indicating that it can lead to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer.
He said: “When mitochondria become dysfunctional, they release key molecules. The released molecules can function as signals for the immune system, triggering an immune response that leads to inflammation. This plays a critical role in the development of various diseases.”
Can we trust this research?
The first problem with the study is that it displays strong bias in the introduction. It states: There is a “paucity of data on e-cig safety, and very limited scientific evidence to support the efficacy of vaping in aiding smoking cessation”.
This simply isn’t true. There is quite extensive independently produced evidence in the United Kingdom which has been annually assessed by Public Health England, Cancer Research UK, and Action on Smoking and Health.
While not stating that it is safe, British experts say that it is “at least 95% safer than smoking” – with some saying that figure should now be revised up to 99.5% safer.
Nottingham University’s Professor John Britton firmly believes that ecigs are safe enough for use as a smoking quit tool. He said: “Use of e-cigarettes in the UK is almost exclusive to smokers trying to quit smoking; Their efficacy in this role is confirmed by authoritative Cochrane and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evidence reviews; and despite (or perhaps because) of vaping, smoking among young people is at an all-time low.”
He reiterated that ecigs are not “safe”, but they are “safer than smoking”, unequivocally adding that current “UK policy is right.”
Deborah Arnott is the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, and anti-smoking charity. She points out that, “England is not an outlier on vaping: it is a frontrunner. Smoking is a public health disaster, estimated to have killed more people last year than COVID-19.”
She says that smokers have traditionally used nicotine replacement therapies to help them quit tobacco, but many have now experienced success with switching to vaping. She said ecigs are “around twice as effective as [other nicotine replacement therapies].”
But, when it comes to questions about cancer risks, maybe it is best to refer to Cancer Research UK for the absolute truth on the matter.
Cancer Research UK says: “Studies so far show that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking. Most of the toxic chemicals in cigarettes are not present in e-cigarettes.
“Some potentially dangerous chemicals have been found in e-cigarettes. But levels are usually low and generally far lower than in tobacco cigarettes. Exposure may be the same as people who use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches or gum.
“There is no good evidence that vaping causes cancer.”