e-cigarettes: are they safe?Thursday 31 January 2019
A trial found 18% of smokers who used them to quit remained smoke-free after a year, compared with 9.9% of those using nicotine-replacement treatments.
The study of 886 smokers is the first to test how effective modern e-cigarettes are for quitting." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-4704111
On the back of reported results such as these Public Health England strongly supports the use of e-cigarettes as aids to smoking cessation and has recommended that anyone trying to quit smoking should have e-cigarettes on prescription.
Most would agree that anything that helps smokers to quit is a good thing. E.cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide and certainly contain fewer carcinogenic chemicals than regular cigarettes and are therefore probably less harmful than regular cigarettes. But, are they safe? A lack of long term studies and results of new research suggests that e.cigarettes should be viewed with caution.
According to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019 E-cigarette users are 70 per cent more likely to have a stroke than someone that has never vaped before. They could also raise the risk of a heart attack or angina by 59 per cent, and coronary heart disease by 40 per cent.
The following excerpt taken from an article on the Livescience website summarises the research presented at the 2019 Stroke Conference.
"The study analyzed information from about 400,000 Americans who took part in a national health survey in 2016. Of these, about 66,800 reported that they regularly used e-cigarettes.
But the findings linking e-cigarettes with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease held even after the researchers took into account whether people were also conventional cigarette smokers, said study lead author Dr. Paul Ndunda, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
What's more, when the researchers analyzed a subset of participants who reported smoking fewer than 100 conventional cigarettes in their lives (meaning they were not regular users of cigarettes), they found that e-cigarette users were still 29 percent more likely to report having a stroke, 25 percent more likely to report having a heart attack and 18 percent more likely to report having coronary heart disease, Ndunda told Live Science".
These results are concerning, but the study was not able to take into account pre existing variables of the participants such as unhealthy lifestyle, alcohol consumption and blood pressure that are known to be factors affecting cardio vascular health. Further research is also required to determine the effects of passive 'smoking' from e.cigarettes. In spite of its short comings, the research is clear that e-cigarettes are not a safe consumer product.