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Is Vaping Safe? Royal College of Physicians Supports Vaping

is vaping safe?
Is vaping safe?
Image by Lars Bear Prandelli

Is Vaping Safe?  New Report by the Royal College of Physicians Supports Vaping

How often has the question, “Is vaping safe?” been asked?  How many articles have we seen, “go viral,” regarding trace amounts of various chemicals that don’t even come close to the limits of occupational exposure, let alone near the amount released from analog smoking.  If you have found yourself waiting patiently for someone to release an article on the safety of vaping, your long wait is over.

According to a report released by the Royal College of Physicians, vaping is much safer than smoking.  In their report, found here, smoking is blamed as the leading cause of avoidable illness and premature death.  In fact, in 2010 more than 1 in 6 deaths was due to a tobacco related illness in the UK.  While many are aware of the numerous additives that cigarettes contain, nicotine itself is not an appallingly damaging drug and it is not carcinogenic.

Is Vaping Safe?  Consider the leading causes of tobacco-related death

The study examines the often fatal effects of smoking stating, “Of the three main causes of mortality from smoking, lung cancer arises primarily from direct exposure of the lungs to carcinogens in tobacco smoke, COPD from the irritant and proinflammatory effects of smoke, and cardiovascular disease from the effects of smoke on vascular coagulation and blood vessel walls. None is caused primarily by nicotine. For practical purposes, as argued by Mike Russell in the 1970s, ‘smokers smoke for nicotine but are killed by tar’.”

While the RCP states that long-term effects of vaping are still yet to be analyzed, they go on to claim that, “it is inherently unlikely that nicotine inhalation itself contributes significantly to the mortality or morbidity caused by smoking.”

Is Vaping Safe?  Or should I choose a different nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

is vaping safeAccording to the report, vaping is much more effective as a replacement therapy for cigarettes due to the capacity to replicate the sensory and behavioral characteristics of smoking.  While some studies have emerged to conclude that some e-liquids may contain harmful toxins, “an analysis based on expert opinion quantified the likely harm to health and society of e-cigarettes at about 5% of the burden caused by tobacco smoking.”  Even long term effects of vaping are anticipated to remain at 5% the harm caused by smoking and potentially much lower.

The 206 page report even responds to concerns of minors and never-smokers taking up vaping.  The report states that while the use in the UK was relatively non-existent in 2010, it has risen to now one in five smokers, however hardly any of these vapers have converted from never-smokers.  Also, the overall smoking and vaping population continues to decline among both adults and minors.

Among the nicotine replacement therapies, “the average quit rate in all smokers using SSSs was around 51%, and among e-cigarette users it was 66%.”   The RCP warns, however, that if impending regulations were designed to be too strict, making vaping, “less easily accessible, less palatable or acceptable, more expensive, less consumer friendly or pharmacologically less effective, or inhibits innovation and development of new and improved products, then it causes harm by perpetuating smoking.”

In conclusion on the question, “Is vaping safe?” the Royal College of Physicians examines the significant damages caused to individual health and community.  While they are certainly proponents of more, and continued research on vaping, the bottom line is that when vaping is compared to smoking (as it should be) their findings were none other than considerable harm reduction.  Their final thought is, “in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking.”

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