According to a new study, e-cigarettes can be a good alternative to smoking
Experts have been controversial about e-cigarettes for years. Some people consider it a better alternative to tobacco, but many medical professionals warn of the health risks posed by electronic glow sticks. British scientists are now drawing a completely different picture. According to a recent report by the London Royal Colleges of Physicians, the electronic cigarettes could even help to "radically reduce" the damage caused by smoking.
EExperts have been arguing about advantages and risks for years
Since e-cigarettes have been on the market, supporters and critics have been arguing about the advantages and disadvantages of small vaporizers. Some experts see them as the better alternative to normal cigarettes and point out that they can make it easier to stop smoking. Other experts, on the other hand, emphasize that e-cigarettes are not harmless, but instead are sometimes even more problematic than normal smoking. For example, they contain chemicals that are hazardous to health and can cause a popcorn lung.
British Medical Association publishes 200-page report
The British medical association "Royal College of Physicians" (RCP) from London has now clearly positioned itself on the side of the advocates. As the 200-page report “Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction” shows, it is likely that e-cigarettes are beneficial for public health in the United Kingdom (UK). According to a message from the RCP, smokers could therefore be sure and would be encouraged to use the electric glow sticks. The public is also assured that these are much safer than conventional smoking.
Since e-cigarettes were launched in the UK in 2007, the use of medical and public controversy has been accompanied. The new report therefore reviews the science, politics, regulations and ethical issues surrounding e-cigarettes and other non-tobacco sources of nicotine and offers conclusions based on the latest available evidence, according to the RCP. The report affects a large proportion of the UK population, as epidemiologist John Britton and colleagues in the British Medical Journal write that 2.6 million people would consume e-cigarettes there. Overall, the number of smokers is just under nine million, according to the scientists in their summary of the RCP report.
Low health risk compared to tobacco consumption
Almost every e-cigarette user is therefore a smoker or ex-smoker. In addition, surveys among British teenagers had shown that the electrical devices were used almost exclusively only by those who had previously had experience with smoking. Accordingly, the researchers summarize that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes would increase the number of smokers.
The electrical alternative also poses a significantly lower risk for the user. Although these are probably not harmless, they could e.g. increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or possibly cardiovascular diseases. "However, the extent of this risk is likely to be very small compared to smoking tobacco," said the authors. Accordingly, the possible damage from inhaling the steam is unlikely to reach five percent of those that can result from smoking.
“E-cigarettes and other nicotine-free tobacco products have the potential to radically reduce the harm that smoking causes in our society. This is an opportunity that should be taken and used, ”the researchers conclude in the British Medical Journal. The electric glow sticks would offer smokers a viable alternative and would therefore have a positive effect for both individuals and society, the authors continued.
Warnings about new lifestyle product
The report of the British Medical Association is therefore in clear contrast to many opinions of local experts. The German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg (DKFZ), for example, warns against the use of electric glow sticks and considers it a new "lifestyle product" that adolescents may make "real" smoking tasty, reports "Spiegel online". "We urge caution," Katrin Schaller, tobacco expert at the DKFZ, is quoted here. Because it is not clear whether the supposedly harmless alternative to the cigarette does not lead to smoking tobacco sooner or later. For smokers, however, vaping could possibly be a sensible alternative, Schaller admits. "But they are not suitable for non-smokers and young people," emphasizes the expert.
No more sales to children and teenagers
This is also the opinion of the legislator in this country, because since April 1, 2016, e-shishas and e-cigarettes can no longer be sold to children and young people. The ban also applies to mail order, and employers are now prohibited from passing on tobacco products or electronic cigarettes to adolescents. The amendment to the Youth Protection Act was justified, among other things, by the fact that children and adolescents must be protected against possible damage. In addition, it was emphasized with regard to young consumers that use quickly tempted them to switch to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or conventional cigarettes. (No)