One of the most common criticisms raised against e-cigarettes is that they’re completely unsupported by research. The people who make this comment are clearly working under some unspoken assumption that nobody will read anything in the news, and that people in the vaping community are completely uninformed about the products they’re using. It’s outwardly absurd, since there have been numerous studies on the effects of e-cigs and the results have been extremely positive on the whole. Whilst long-term studies are needed (by definition, a new technology will always have this problem), there are plenty of pieces of research into e-cigarettes that reveal important facts you need to know about.
10: The FDA Analysis
If you’ve only heard of one piece of research on e-cigarettes, this will be it. The analysis conducted by the FDA looked at two brands of e-cig, analyzing the contents of the cartridges (not the inhaled vapor) and finding (in addition to the known components) diethylene glycol and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. The official press release neglected to mention the levels of these which were detected, because the cancer-causing nitrosamines were actually in similar levels to FDA-approved smoking cessation products and up to 1,400 times less than found in cigarettes. Diethylene glycol (which is generally cited as a “component in anti-freeze) hasn’t been found in subsequent research, indicating it was merely a one-off manufacturing issue. Read more about the FDA and ecigs – SK
9: Levels of Carcinogens and Toxicants
A 2012 study analyzed e-cigs for various toxic and carcinogenic compounds which are commonly found in tobacco smoke. The researchers analyzed 12 different brands of e-cigarettes, and found that the dangerous compounds are found in tobacco smoke at between 9 and 450 times the quantities. This study was considerably more in-depth than the FDA analysis, and showed a huge potential for harm reduction in e-cigarettes.
8: No Impact on Heart Function
This study (presented in 2012) looked at the impact of e-cigarettes on users’ heart function. Coronary heart disease alone is responsible for 40 percent of deaths in smokers, so this is one of the biggest potential areas for the e-cig to reduce harm. The researchers found that when 20 cigarette smokers were compared to 22 experienced and dedicated vapers, cigarettes had a specific impact on heart function whilst e-cigs didn’t. This focused on the left ventricle (because it receives the oxygen-rich blood), and found that none of the four markers indicated a problem for e-cig users, compared to all four for cigarette smokers.
7: E-cigs vs. Tobacco Cigarettes
A study from Zachary Kahn and Michael Siegel looked at numerous studies into the safety of electronic cigarettes and confirmed what vapers had suspected so far, that “[electronic cigarettes] are undoubtedly safer than tobacco cigarettes.” They also restate the evidence from the FDA analysis in context and conclude that e-cigs have potential for smoking cessation.
6: Pure Nicotine Inhalation
One of the most troubling aspects of e-cigarettes for many users is that nobody knows what inhaling pure nicotine actually does. However, (along with the existing research on the safety of e-cigs) a study on rats confirmed the overall safety of nicotine. The rats were exposed to twice the level of nicotine heavy smokers would be exposed to for 20 hours a day, five days per week over the course of two years. The researchers found no adverse health effects (including tumors) in comparison to the control group, aside from some weight loss in the nicotine-inhaling rats.