As regular vapers are likely only too aware, the debate continues to rage – all over social media, on the wider Internet and in the press – as to how ‘dangerous’ as opposed to ‘healthy’ an activity vaping is, especially when compared, or rather contrasted, to tobacco smoking. In which case, it’s worth pointing out to new vapers and those curious and interested in getting into the e-cig world, so they might discover and savour all the fantastic flavours courtesy of vape liquid there are, some of the relatively recent evidence on this subject. Because it finds heavily in favour of vaping, even though portions of the media and social-media-commentators and ‘(non) know-it-alls’ like to ignore it.
The evidence then came courtesy of a landmark research study carried out in the name of the esteemed Public Health England (PHE) agency (affiliated to the UK Government, no less) – and its findings suggested that e-cigarettes are as much as 95 percent less harmful to people’s health than tobacco.
What the study says
Indeed, to get more specific and for more clarity, pertinent passages of the 2015 study read:
“We strongly suggest that use of the gateway terminology [in relation to e-cigarettes] be abandoned until it is clear how the theory can be tested in this field. Nevertheless, the use of EC [e-cigarettes] and smoking requires careful surveillance in young people. The preferred option is that young people do not use EC but it would be preferable for a young person to use an EC instead of smoking, given the known relative risks of the EC and smoking cigarettes.”
Elsewhere, the study ascertains:
“Overall, the adult and youth data suggest that, despite some experimentation with EC among never-smokers, EC are attracting few people who have never smoked into regular use … the vast majority of youth who regularly use EC are smokers … Regular EC use in youth is rare.”
And, according to its findings, the study concluded:
“These findings, to date, suggest that the advent of EC is not undermining, and may even be contributing to, the long-term decline in cigarette smoking”.
Opposition to vaping
Now, the findings of that highly respected academic study become even more stark when one considers the position on vaping taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Unfortunately, the WHO remains in the anti-vape camp. Indeed, e-cig enthusiasts ought to be aware of the fact that at their most recent meeting on ‘tobacco control’, the organisation called for a ‘total ban’ on e-cigs and public vaping, owing to fear over second-hand smoke – obviously stirred on by false media-reporting, speculation and hearsay.
If such a ban could be enforced, then e-cigs and all their related products would be treated legally the same as conventional cigarettes, which would mean they’d be completely banned from public spaces, including hospitals, public transport and, yes, most likely many workplaces. This would essentially wipe out individual policy enforced – or not, if it doesn’t exist – on the use of e-cigs in public places.
Unsurprisingly, the WHO’s position is being criticised, for sure, by those activists out there who are adamant that vaping may be able to prevent – or, indeed, is preventing – high numbers of tobacco-related deaths each year, thanks to so many smokers making the switch to vaping (as, of course, the PHE report suggests may well be the case). Speaking of which, Kevin Fenton, the PHE’s Director of Health and Wellbeing, has been quoted as saying on the subject: “The real concern is that smokers increasingly believe the inaccurate reports that vaping is as dangerous as smoking and are more likely to continue to smoke”.
Fair dos; all this may sound like battle lines are very much drawn and opinions are very polarised – and, let’s face it, they are – but with such people as there are at the PHE in vaping’s corner and, hopefully, the reality of common sense thinking, vaping and e-cigs surely stand a chance to survive this current onslaught against them and come through the other side. After all, it’s surely true that, in converting so many smokers into e-cig users, vaping is a saver of lives!