Vaping has become increasingly popular in the UK as an alternative to traditional smoking, and there is a growing body of evidence that suggests vaping could be an effective tool for helping people quit. But with all the conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know what to believe about vaping. This article aims to provide an updated look at the evidence regarding vaping, including its potential side effects and benefits when compared with smoking.
The common misconceptions surrounding vaping
There have been some studies that suggest vaping is not as safe as originally thought, with one study even finding a connection between long-term vaping and an increased risk of cancer. The study was swiftly retracted just eight months later, citing issues with the study conclusion being unreliable.
And a study posted in February 2022 claimed that nicotine vapers had the same cancer risks as smokers until this study too was pulled from the Oncology Journal due to issues with methodology. They failed to mention, however, whether diagnoses were made prior to, or after starting vaping. However, the vast majority of studies still agree that vaping is much less harmful than smoking cigarettes. And this is only some of the flawed research that has gone on to paint a negative image of vaping.
Vaping has been consistently found to be much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and this is largely due to the fact that vaping does not contain many, or much less, of the carcinogenic substances and chemicals found in traditional tobacco products. In comparison to smoking, vaping offers a more controlled intake of nicotine, which means it can be used as an effective tool for quitting smoking.
It's important to remember that although vaping is 95% less harmful, there is still some harm suggested when using vapes. E-Cigarettes were developed with the purpose to help smokers make the shift away from cigarettes. For this reason, it is not suggested that those who don't smoke or have never smoked, should not take up vaping.
One thing we often hear about when it comes to vaping, is that we don't yet know the long-term effects of vaping. This is true, there have not been any long-term studies on the effects of vaping as it is a relatively new technology. But given that we know vaping is much less harmful than smoking, it would be wise to assume that the long-term effects of vaping are likely to be less severe. We also know that vaping has been around since approximately 2005, making it likely that we now have many users who have been using vapes long-term.
Some of the recent studies on vaping
The most recent studies on vaping have shown continued to show encouraging results when it comes to quitting smoking. A Cochrane review published in November 2022 concluded that vaping is more effective than traditional NRTs, for helping people quit smoking.
Research that took place in 2018 alongside recent anecdotal evidence from vapers with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), has shown that switching to vaping can benefit those who smoke with COPD. They found that respiratory infections and COPD exasperations were markedly diminished for those who used vaping to help cut down/quit cigarettes. It was also reported that they showed improved overall health and physical activity.
When it comes down to harm; research continues to show the harm reduction capabilities of vaping whilst also reminding of the harm to those who have never smoked. It's for this reason that it remains important that the correct message is sent out by vaping brands and the government - vaping is a tool for smokers looking to quit, not an alternative to take up instead of smoking.
Why it matters that the right message goes out to smokers
As the conversation around vaping continues, it is important that the correct message about its potential for harm reduction is heard loud and clear. This is especially true when misinformation can be damaging to a smoker's decision to quit cigarettes.
There are still many people who believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or even more so, but this is not true. Research continues to show that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and can be an effective way for a smoker to quit cigarettes and reduce their addiction to nicotine. This means that it's important for vaping brands, public health organisations and the government to work together in presenting this message so smokers understand the potential of vaping as a harm-reduction tool.
For vaping to reach its full potential as a harm-reduction tool, it is important that the correct message about its safety and efficacy is spread. Only then can smokers make an informed decision about their health and be able to make the switch away from cigarettes successfully.
To wrap up, vaping is a much less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes and is becoming increasingly accepted as an effective tool for quitting smoking. Research into vaping continues to show encouraging results in terms of harm reduction and its potential for helping smokers quit. It's important that the correct message about vaping is spread so smokers can make an informed decision about their health. Only then can vaping reach its full potential as a harm-reduction tool.
What do you think about the ongoing battle that vaping continues to face? Let us know in the comments below.