E-cigarettes burst onto the scene a few years ago, and have quickly replaced traditional cigarettes for many people. They don’t require lighters so no fire hazards and they don’t cause the deadly diseases that normal cigarettes do. Many people are taking to this new way of relieving stress, because of the benefits it offers and the lack of any obvious harm it causes to the user. In the long run it is seen as a cheaper, healthier alternative to tobacco smoking and ultimately adopted in the long run. You get to choose from a range of vape juices which appear as cute little vials with different colours inside and varying flavours. Today you might feel like pineapple. Tomorrow: mojito. It can very easily become a fun solo or joint activity to browse some of the many vape shops which have sprouted up everywhere, choosing a different vape juice each time and replacing vape parts. The numbers of people vaping in the UK has doubled in recent years, making this ‘trend’ something that looks like it’s here to stay.

However there are people who have their reservations and who strongly believe that vaping as it’s called, is not a healthy alternative to smoking and in fact could be just as bad as tobacco smoking. But are these concerns warranted? Is there actually any proof whatsoever that vaping is bad for you- or worse- more detrimental than smoking cigarettes?

In 2015, NHS public health officials called for e-cigarettes to be available on the NHS as a measure to curb tobacco addiction. They urged the 8 million smokers in the UK to literally take up vaping and said that e-cigarettes were 20 times less harmful than traditional cigarettes. There was also a report from the Kings College London and Queen Mary London that found e-cigarettes carried just 5% of the risk of tobacco. They estimated that 75,000 lives a year could be saved if every smoker in the UK switched to vaping. The claim that vaping is safer than cigarettes has led to many people taking up e-cigarettes in the hopes that they won’t be damaging their bodies. However, separate studies done by other professionals suggested things in the vaping world aren’t all ‘tasty flavours and cool colours’.

Several studies were conducted by the Imperial College London and found that diseases caused by e-cigarettes potentially could emerge within 10 or 20 years. The report authors did say that the effects of vaping were likely to be less damaging than smoking but still warned that people were taking a risk by starting- especially non-smokers. The number of non-smokers who have taken up vaping has doubled in the last couple of years. There are concerns that vaping could act as a ‘gateway’ to smoking conventional cigarettes. There were also studies done by researchers at the University of California that found that e-cigarette vapour destroys DNA in ways that could lead to cancer. The researchers conducted a test which involved creating an extract from the ’smoke’ of e-cigarettes and they used it in a lab to treat human cells. The results showed the exposed cells had developed DNA damage and actually died far son than those that were untreated. The researchers concluded that e-cigarettes were in some way related to increased cell death.

More recently in 2017 the news announced again that vaping- and in particular long-term vaping- is much safer than smoking. According to a study which involved volunteers who were smokers, some of which had given up but used e-cigarettes. The study found that the people who used e-cigarettes had significantly lower levels of cancer-causing substances and other toxic chemicals in their saliva and urine samples compared to those who smoked cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes has aided many people in giving up smoking completely and can be very beneficial health wise and financially. It is always best to speak to a stop smoking practitioner if you need advice as they are trained to point you in the right direction. 

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