The safety of electronic cigarettes has been much debated, with recent unexplained cases of lung disease in the US and 12 deaths which have been linked to vaping. More recently a serious case of life threatening respiratory failure has been reported in the UK, with e cigarettes associated with lung diseases such as pneumonia.
E cigarettes, or vaping devices, involve heating a liquid and inhaling the vapour. The composition of these liquids can vary between manufacturers, but generally contain a mixture of water, flavourings, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine. Worryingly, child friendly flavours have resulted in young people taking up vaping having never smoked before.
While some health organisations have recommended the use of electronic cigarettes as a means of stopping smoking, it is not intended as a long term substitute, and it is never recommended to start vaping having never previously smoked. These organizations may claim that vaping is safer than smoking, however there is no evidence to back up this claim due to a lack of research into their safety, and there is yet to be any long term history of e cigarette use – up until the 1950s doctors actually recommended smoking, it wasn’t until 1964 that the dangers of smoking cigarettes were reported and evidenced and we became aware of the danger of smoking after more than 40 years’ history.
- E cigarettes are not medically licenced, which means they are not available on prescription, despite other smoking cessation aids being available for doctors to prescribe
- Although free from carbon monoxide and tar, vaping liquid contains various other chemicals such as diacetyl and THC, compounds which are linked to lung disease
- Nicotine in vape liquid directly contributes to gum disease by reducing the flow of blood to the gums
- India, Brazil, Singapore and Thailand have already banned e cigarettes amid fears for public safety
- Although rare, there have been incidents of e cigarettes exploding causing injury, experts have been unable to pinpoint the cause of this happening
- According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention use of e cigarettes is probably responsible for 26 deaths and 1299 cases lung disease in the US: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
- There has been an alarming increase in vaping among teenagers who have never previously smoked before
While some organisations claim vaping is safer than smoking, they admit it is not risk free. The reality is there is no study or evidence to prove this, however the World Health Organisation has described them as ‘Undoubtedly harmful’. The dangerous effects of cigarette smoking were not known for decades, and the manufacture and sale of e cigarettes is very new by comparison. Our advice in the meantime, is that the only application for e cigarettes is a short-term aid to stopping smoking, we would not recommend or condone their regular or long term use.
Free help, support and advice on stopping smoking or using electronic cigarettes is available the practice, please call us on 01443 451851 (Nelson) or 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach)