Long-term vaping presents “no risk in long-term vapers who have never smoked in their life” says new research
As 2017 draws to a close, vape businesses and their allies may fondly look back on it as The Year of the Study. The past eleven months have provided publication after publication refuting some longstanding claims about the supposed dangers of e-cigarettes and liquids. We’ve seen the myth of vaping as a gateway to smoking soundly unravel at the hands of Dr Lynn Kozlowski, and Dr Lion Shahab delivered a startling revelation with a snappy statistic to match: that vaping is at least 95% safer than combustible cigarette smoking.
This latest step may prove one of the biggest yet. Not just for 2017, but for the entire history of vapour products.
As the leading conference of its kind, the annual E-Cigarette summit, hosted at the Royal Society in London, has been home to numerous influential announcements that have shaken up the global vape industry. The Summit for 2017 was no different. In a young, strong industry defined by its seismic events and leaps forward, this latest landmark comes to us courtesy of Professor Ricardo Polosa, who Vapouround first met at the IBVTA’s launch conference in April.
On Friday 17 November at 8am, during the summit’s press conference, it was formally announced that Professor Polosa had fronted:
“The first study on long-term regular e-cigarettes use in users who have never smoked.”
The study, titled: Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked – was completed in June and submitted for peer review. It was accepted by October, and debuted publicly that very Friday morning.
Always direct and clear, Professor Polosa tweeted out the study with the following statement:
“In spite of previous health scares, our study shows for the first time no risk in long-term vapers who have never smoked in their life.”
The regulatory sphere in the e-cigarette trade is often a harsh, bitterly contested frontier, with its political developments shaped by public opinion and perceptions of vaping. There have been two consistent outliers that have defined such debates.
The first is the effect of vapour on the body compared with smoke. Vaping has had a hard time shedding its (often unjust) public affiliation with smoking. As a smoking cessation tool (and one typically not recommended to non-smokers) the e-cigarette is in direct competition with the combustible, and battles between vape and tobacco companies have been waged in the court of public opinion. By pursuing this study, Professor Polosa and his colleagues took an extremely rare “blank slate” of bodies untouched entirely by cigarette smoke, enabling them to focus fully on what vaping alone would do.
The second outlier is the lack of information regarding vaping in the long term. A quintessentially twenty-first century phenomenon, the arrival of what we know today as e-cigarettes came as the culmination of decades of failed attempts to deliver nicotine without tobacco. This study has covered a three-and-a-half-year period, keeping close track of the effects of vapourised nicotine on the bodies of its subjects. Though we still lack the multiple decades of hindsight attained by studies of tobacco smoking, this is a significant step forward.
See our main feature in this issue for an in-depth look at how this study unfolded and what it means. You can also read it yourself; the text can be accessed in full at www.nature.com/scientificreports.