The Long-Term Health Risks of Vaporizing: Public Organizations Take a Side
Evidence to support the claim that e-cigarettes are a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, as well as evidence to support the opposite, are both available, and convincing in their own right. The conflicting evidence and the lack of longtitudinal studies measuring the prolonged effects of vaporizing, are making it very difficult for politicians and public organizations to decide whether to publicly denounce the product and practice. Opinions in the public sector vary widely, as this article will illustrate.
Public Health England Announces Support for E-Cigarettes as an Alternative to Cigarettes
Back in August of 2015, James Meikle of The Guardian UK reported that Public Health England publicly announced their official support for vaporizing, stating their belief that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco. The PHE, in what was billed as a “landmark review” of electronic cigarettes, concluded that e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and should one day be considered a license medicinal product, a delivery system that could replace other anti-smoking products like gums and patches. They went as far as to say that e-cigarettes “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco.”
The Government’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, supported the findings, but was quick to point out who that “there continues to be a lack of evidence on the long-term use of e-cigarettes,” pointing to the lack of longitudinal studies that exist examining the health issues that are likely to arise with long term use and exposure to inhaled synthetic e-liquid.
Davies was quoted as saying:
“I want to see these products coming to the market as licensed medicines. This would provide assurance on the safety, quality and efficacy to consumers who want to use these products as quitting aids, especially in relation to the flavourings used, which is where we know least about any inhalation risks.”
American Lung Association Remain Skeptical
The American Lung Association recognizes the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, but is skeptical of their claims of reducing long term health risks. They believe that responsibility should fall on the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide oversight and institute regulations for e-cigarettes in order to “protect children and the public,” especially as the use of e-cigarettes become more popularized among youth.
Health Canada’s Stance on E-Cigarettes
As of March 1st of this year, Health Canada has not regulated e-cigarettes in any way. Which is extremely fascinating, considering the Food and Drug Act stipulates that any product containing nicotine has to be approved by Health Canada before it can be imported, advertised or sold. Therefore, e-liquids that are sold in Canada that contain nicotine are technically illegal, and should not be made available by vendors to individuals of any age.