E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Comprehensive Evidence Review Concludes That Vaping is Far Less Harmful Than Smoking

A recently published comprehensive meta-analysis of over 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the effects of vaping on human health has concluded that based on the evidence presently available “e-cigarettes are far less harmful than conventional cigarettes, containing fewer and lower levels of toxic substances” and “may help adult smokers quit smoking conventional cigarettes”.

Commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the direction of Congress, the study was conducted a committee of experts at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. They identified and analysed over 800 peer-reviewed studies on the effects of electronic cigarettes on human health and their efficacy in helping smokers quit. Among other things, the committee found evidence suggesting that completely switching from combustible cigarettes to electronic cigarettes reduces the user’s exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens, while at the same time reducing some short-term health outcomes.

Based on the reviewed scientific evidence, the NASEM committee formulated a report that  the FDA says helps them identify areas in which more research is needed in order to better understand the net impact of electronic cigarettes. The report consists of 47 main conclusions, which you can read on the NASEM website, but the key findings of the review were:

  • e-cigarettes are far less harmful than conventional cigarettes, containing fewer and lower levels of toxic substances;
  • they may help adult smokers quit smoking conventional cigarettes;
  • among youth, using e-cigarettes increases the risk of transitioning to smoking conventional cigarettes; and
  • the long-term health effects of these devices still are unknown.

Apart from confirming the controversial “gateway theory” that a number of other studies had debunked before, the NACEM report also states that “in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarettes contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances.” However the detected levels of these substances are “significantly lower compared with conventional cigarettes.”

“E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” said David Eaton, Ph.D., chair of the expert committee and dean and vice provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle. “In some circumstances, such as their use by nonsmoking adolescents and young adults, their adverse effects clearly warrant concern. In other cases, such as when adult smokers use them to quit smoking, they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness.”

The study concludes that in order to maximize the potential health benefits of e-cigarettes will require “determining with more precision whether and under what conditions e-cigarettes help people quit smoking; discouraging e-cigarette use among youth through education and access restrictions; and increasing the devices’ safety through data-driven engineering and design.”

Despite the concerns expressed regarding the potential risks vaping poses for youths, the findings of review is in line with the conclusions of the famous Cochrane review and King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London, which found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking tobacco.

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