By now, the tobacco industry is a household name.
Yet despite the industry’s long history of peddling the myth that e-cigarette vapour is a healthier alternative to smoking, scientists are still finding that e, too, is linked to health problems.
And the latest research from California-based researchers points to the dangers of using e-liquid as a gateway to smoking.
The researchers say that while vaping is a safer way to smoke, it is not a way to quit smoking.
And while the researchers acknowledge that the e-cig is not perfect, they say the risks are manageable.
“It’s an attractive product, it’s an appealing brand and it’s a popular product in the market,” says Peter Wiblin, professor of public health at the University of California, San Francisco.
“E-cigarettes do not pose any significant health risks, but we still need to evaluate their long-term use and their safety,” says Wibin.
The e-juice manufacturers have long marketed e-cigs as an easy way to stop smoking and help smokers quit.
But a new study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research says e-vapor is a gateway product that is making people who use it a new user of nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
The new study looked at the nicotine levels in e-liquids from about 15 brands of e-tanks and e-tank refillable e-filler, and found that nearly half of them contained nicotine and almost all had more than one of the chemicals linked to cancer, lung and heart disease.
“We’re seeing people coming in and asking about the product, asking about how it’s supposed to help them quit smoking,” says Dr. Sarah Gagnon, a professor of tobacco control at Columbia University.
“And it’s the same question we’re seeing now: How do they know what’s in it?
And it’s that question that needs to be answered,” says Gagnons study co-author Dr. Jennifer Gagnones, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Public Health Sciences at Columbia.
The authors said that since the FDA approved e-battles in 2009, e-smoking has become a gateway into smoking.
“The biggest problem with e-smokers is they’re not really stopping smoking.
They’re using it as a way of trying to stay with their habit,” Gagnone says.
“If they’re using e, they’re smoking.
If they’re taking e-snus, they aren’t.”
Dr. David Schoenebeck, a former professor of toxicology at the American Cancer Society and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Big Tobacco Lie, says that e liquid is an easy, cheap and accessible way to get nicotine into the body.
“You just get that nicotine into your bloodstream.
And then it’s in the bloodstream,” Schoellenbeck says.”
In my experience, if you’re using an e-carton, you’re going to get a very small amount of nicotine in the liquid, which is not going to help you quit.
And that’s not what we’re trying to do,” he says.
In the past, ejuice was marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco.
But researchers say the tobacco companies have not done a good job of educating consumers on the health risks of using nicotine.
“It’s not clear that we’re getting the message that e cigarettes are a good way to try to stop tobacco smoking,” Gannons study concludes.
“But that’s what we need to do to get the message across that it’s OK to use e-dolls and other similar products that have nicotine and carcinogens in them,” she adds.
“For the moment, e juice is a much safer alternative than smoking, but it is still very addictive, and there’s no evidence that it will ever be a ‘gatekeeper’ product.”