E-cigarettes could become ‘lifestyle choice’ before long-term effects realised, health expert warns

The research on the long-term health impact of vaping is still developing

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 25 April 2018 12:46
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E-cigarettes becoming long-term lifestyle choice due to ‘edgy’ marketing

People who smoke e-cigarettes could be at risk of adopting the products as “long-term, lifestyle choices” due to the way they’re marketed, a health expert has warned.

Smoking e-cigarettes, otherwise known as “vaping”, has been acknowledged as being far safer for your health than smoking real cigarettes.

In February last year, a study conducted by University College London and funded by Cancer Research UK found that individuals who used e-cigarettes were found to have far fewer toxins and cancer-causing substances in their bodies after a period of six months.

However, the dangers of smoking e-cigarettes for a long time have yet to be explored, as the product was only developed in recent times.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) expressed her concerns while addressing MPs at the Science and Technology Committee yesterday.

“Evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful to health than smoking but are not risk-free and that the evidence is still developing, including the evidence on long-term health impact,” she said.

E-cigarettes have been proven as an effective method of quitting smoking, a benefit that Professor Leng highlighted.

“I think that’s the distinction between using e-cigarettes as a quitting aid, which you clearly can do, you can downgrade the amount of nicotine that you get through the product and it can help you to stop your nicotine addiction,” she explained.

“The question is whether it becomes a long-term, lifestyle choice, and I think there might be questions about that because of the way e-cigarettes are being marketed.

“They are being marketed as an interesting, exciting, edgy product that might encourage people to use them in the longer term.”

Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE (Public Health England) stated that studies have illustrated how smokers who opt for e-cigarettes are likely to then quit smoking altogether in future.

However, Professor Leng argued that the risks of smoking e-cigarettes in the long-term can’t yet be quantified.

“They’re 95 per cent safer than cigarettes but there’s five per cent that we don’t know about,” she said.

A study carried out by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm recently concluded that e-cigarettes containing nicotine have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

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