There’s no evidence that e-cigarettes are safe!
That’s a claim made all over the internet. Another is that there has been no research into the devices. But while we wait for our trade organisation, ECITA, to finish uploading over 800 studies conducted into electronic cigarettes, you might like to see what actual scientists, doctors and public health professionals say about electronic cigarettes.
1. Dr Hilary Jones – The Benefits of E-Cigarettes
Dr Hilary Jones is a general practitioner, presenter and writer on medical issues. If you live in the UK you’ve probably seen him on many TV programmes including GMTV.
In this short video he praises electronic cigarettes as a far healthier option to tobacco smoking.
“Nicotine itself is not the biggest danger, it’s tobacco itself and the smoke that comes from tobacco because that contains the tar which is so damaging to the lungs and can increase the risk of things like lung cancer.”
2. Professor Peter Hajek – Experts on Camera
Professor Peter Hajek is director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London. In this recent video he talks about his studies, which are looking into a number of electronic cigarette factors, such as toxins, content, the delivery of nicotine as well as the behaviour of e-cigarette users.
He recognises the controversy surrounding e-cigarettes and suggests this is due to the device being a ‘disruptive technology’ (a new technology which kills another industry).
“It threatens not just sales of cigarettes but it already massively undermines sales of stop smoking medications, which is a big business and also threatens lots of established positions in tobacco control, so there are a lot of people out there who are vigorously trying to get rid of them”
Hajek also points out the massive public health benefits of electronic cigarettes and hopes that regulators and politicians will set policies on a rational basis. Currently, the policies are being driven by vested interests and unsupported worries.
“[E-cigarettes] pose very small or maybe no health risks, they do not attract new users to nicotine so far and they have the potential to help smokers to switch to something safe from something tremendously dangerous.”
“The key point is that nicotine itself is harmless, which is something most people don’t appreciate, nicotine itself is probably on par with drinking coffee in terms of health risks, its the chemicals in smoke which kill people and here you don’t have it.”
3. Vaping on the BBC’s “Trust Me, I’m A Doctor”
When us vapers heard that e-cigarettes were going to be covered on the BBC’s ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ recently, we all waited with bated breath.
Were they going to repeat the scaremongering misinformed claims of the media or were they going to give a fair and balanced argument, supported by real-world data?
Luckily, the latter was true and the programme shed positive light on the e-cigarette.
Not only did they correctly make the distinction between smoking and vaping (what many other media channels have failed to do), but they also ran tests on a range of vapers and smokers and looked at passive vaping.
The tests found both the electronic cigarette and the tobacco cigarette delivered a similar dose of nicotine. When looking at the levels of “carbon monoxide associated with heart disease and acrolein associated with cancer and lung problems,” they found:
“Vapers had significantly lower levels, similar to those found in non-smokers. As for the risk of passive vaping, our tests found no evidence the vapour was affecting people nearby.”
Professor Peter Hajik was also featured on the show, and pointed out the similarities between the addictive level of nicotine use and drinking coffee.
Regarding electronic cigarettes, he says
“If there is a danger, it’s likely to be a fraction of the danger of smoking.”
“I think they could be a revolutionary change. I think they have a potential to basically eradicate smoking related disease and death on the population scale.”
4. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos on Social Phenomenon of E-Cigarettes & Furthering E-Cigarette Research
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos being interviewed after the Ecig Europe Industry Conference.
He answers questions ranging from the potential health impacts of e-cigarettes and the impact of regulations on the ecig industry.
“Based on the evidence we have from the studies performed… we are pretty confident in expecting huge benefits for the health of consumers.”
“It’s the only product that was ever developed that looks so much like smoking but has so much lower toxic chemicals released than smoking.”
“Make sure that regulations will not kill the product and the potential of the product to serve as a smoking substitute.”
“The regulation must be fair, must be based on common sense and mostly on science and should make the e-cigarettes available and let it compete with the main competitor, which is the tobacco cigarette.”
5. Dr. Michael Siegel on Why Electronic Cigarettes Work
Dr. Michael Siegal from the Boston University School of Public Health talks about the reasons for the success of the electronic cigarette in smoking cessation.
He points out that for many people, nicotine replacement alone is not sufficient. There are a number of other factors that constitute cigarette addiction, such as the physical and behavioural aspects and e-cigarettes can satisfy this part of the addiction in ways nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) cannot.
“There’s a lot more to this addiction than just the nicotine, there’s physical aspects of holding cigarettes and mouth sensations, the puffing, the exhaling, inhaling – there’s even the throat hit… they’re just as important as the nicotine addiction and so NRT is simply not going to be able to address those aspects of addiction.”
“The important point is that smokers have as many options that they can, so they can choose and tailor their treatment to what works best for them.”
You can read our own interview with Siegel here.
6. Harmful & Potentially Harmful Constituents in E-Cigarettes
This is a video recording of Dr. Riccardo Polosa’s talk on e-cigarettes at the 1st Global Forum on Nicotine, Warsaw 2014.
He covers four aspects of e-cigarettes, including nicotine, main ingredients (PG/VG), flavourings and impurities.
What he speaks about is mainly positive, such as the reduction in exhaled carbon monoxide in vapers compared to smokers and he also covers the recent hot topic of diacetyl in e-liquids, noting that although it is present there are “more than 400 times [the level of diacetyl] in a tobacco cigarette” and therefore is probably not a danger.
“Nicotine is not the reason for smoking-related disease:
- officially it is not a carcinogen
- does not cause lung disease
- has minimal effect on cardiovascular disease.”
“Nicotine doesn’t cause any toxicity at all, regardless of concentration.”
“Events are possible but true allergic events are in the range of 1, 2 or 3 % which is exactly what you expect when you use a cosmetic or when you use a drug.”
7. Making a Docu-Style Video on E-Cigarettes
You may be mistaken in thinking this is a clip from a TV show, but in fact it is a (semi)-amateur documentary style video highlighting the benefits of e-cigarettes, which the producer hopes to make into a full-length version in the near future.
The producer speaks with Dr Hayden McRobbie, Katherine Devlin (ECITA) and Louise Ross (Manager – Stop Smoking Service Leicester).
“We know that e-cigarettes are far less risky than regular smoke” – Dr Hayden McRobbie
“One thing that we’ve learnt in the stop smoking serve is that the people that take to e-cigarettes best tend to be more well educated people, people who are in a more affluent bracket and people who are internet savvy – so they have done research of their own on the internet.” – Louise Ross
Click here to see our own interview with Katherine Devlin.
8. Dr Chris Steele Sets the Record Straight on E-Cigarettes on ITV’s This Morning
Dr. Chris Steele is the resident doctor on ITV’s ‘This Morning.’
In this clip from the show, he reinforces the much lower danger posed by e-cigarettes in comparison to smoking tobacco smoking and correctly states there is no evidence to suggest they are a gateway to tobacco cigarettes.
“A lot of the leading experts are saying that if people change from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes, these could save millions of lives”
He does claim there are no regulations in effect. However, as explained here, ecigarettes are already covered by a number of different regulations. ECITA members are covered by stricter regulations again, and from March 2015 will also be covered by a set of standards developed by ECITA and The British Standards Institute.
9. SWOF: Clive Bates on Why Electronic Cigarettes Won’t Work as Medicines
Clive Bates may not be a scientist, but he is a former director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and has contributed a lot to the e-cigarette community, as well as running The Counterfactual blog.
In this video he speaks about how e-cigarettes won’t work as medicines and the negative health impact that could result from excessive regulation.
“The unintended consequences in this case [excessive regulation], you make the products less attractive, you reduce innovation, you decrease the diversity of what’s on the market, you change the marketing and packaging and general marketing proposition to make it more boring. The consequence is that you have a negative effect because fewer people switch and therefore more people continue to smoke.”
Click here to see our own interview with Clive Bates.
10. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos at ESC2012 – The Effects of Electronic Cigarettes on Myocardial Function
Another video featuring Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, this time talking at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2012.
He points out that several studies on ecigarettes have found:
“No or only traces of nitrosamines.”
He also speaks about the results of his study, which at the time was the largest study ever conducted by the medical community on e-cigarettes.
The findings of his study showed:
“[In smokers] there was an elevation of systolic blood pressure by 7.6% in diastolic blood pressure 6.3% and in heart rate by 10.4%”
“Electronic cigarette users had significant elevation in diastolic blood pressure alone (4%)”
“Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemical substances… which are possibly not present in the liquids used in electronic cigarettes. All this may lead to less… stress to the organs, so less effects on cardiac function from electronic cigarette use.”
Bonus! 11. ECigaretteDirect Interview With Prof. Carl Phillips
We interviewed Professor Carl Phillips, ex professor of public health science and author of the Anti-THR Lies blog, way back in 2009, but most of what he says still holds true today:
“It’s probably in the order of 99% less harmful than smoking.”
“Self reports suggest that thousands, tens of thousands of smokers have quit smoking by switching to the electronic cigarette.”
“Theres no serious worry about second hand vapour.”
“The quantities of the nitrosamines in electronic cigarettes were so many orders of magnitudes smaller than those say in smokeless tobacco, which has been shown not to cause a measurable risk of cancer.”
Click here to read the full interview.
So, what can we conclude from all these videos?
Well, it’s clear that:
1. E-cigarettes may not be 100% ‘safe’, but many experts believe that they are many times safer than smoking regular tobacco cigarettes.
2. Some of the campaign against ecigs is financially motivated.
What are your favourite ecig videos? Let me know in the comments below.