New studies continue to be published into e-cigarettes and it is understandable that they cause concern among vapers.
The latest review of research into vaping by researchers from Ohio State University has been published in the Cardiovascular Research journal and it claims that some studies show vaping can harm the heart and blood vessels.
According to the research review, some studies have shown that e-cigarettes contain particulate matter such as metals and flavourings, that can lead to cardiovascular problems, by entering the blood stream in the same way as air pollution.
However, it is important to put this research into context. It is based on a review of existing studies, which, according to Loren Wold, the senior author of the study, are ‘inconsistent’. Meanwhile the impact of long-term e-cigarette use on the heart remains unknown.
The most recent research carried out by Public Health England shows that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. This is because e-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements found in tobacco smoke.
Although, there is a 5% risk that vaping could be harmful, this is just a fraction of the harm caused by tobacco cigarettes, which contain 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which cause cancer.
All e-cigarettes sold in this country are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – a very different situation from that in America where the studies have been carried out.
They are a highly effective smoking cessation tool, with a major clinical trial carried out in 2019 having shown that when combined with expert face to face support, smokers who used e-cigarettes were twice as likely to quit as those who used traditional nicotine replacement therapy such as patches or gum.
According to the latest figures from the National Survey for Wales, 6% of the population in Wales now vape, with the most common reason given for using e-cigarettes being to stop smoking tobacco. In the past year 45% of smokers had tried to give up the habit, with 49% of them using e-cigarettes as a cessation tool.
Currently smoking prevalence in Wales now stands at just 17% of the population, and smoking remains the biggest cause of early preventable death, killing 5,000 people every year in Wales.
Ideally e-cigarettes should only be used as a smoking cessation tool and ASH Wales would strongly discourage anybody from vaping if they are not a smoker.
However, smoking remains the biggest threat to our nation’s health and e-cigarettes could be our most effective weapon in the fight to eradicate this deadly addiction.