Many of us in the vaping community were left mildly stunned last week when the usually venerable World Health Organisation unreasonably suggested banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places. They even wheeled out the children card, insinuating that product advertising (and the variety of delicious e-liquid flavours on offer) could encourage children and non-smokers to take up vaping.
Thankfully a team from University College London have countered the WHO’s report with some actual science and rational logic, concluding that e-cigarettes have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.
Robert West, professor of health psychology, acknowledged that while there were some toxins present in e-cigarette vapour, the concentration levels were very low.
“You have to be a bit crazy to carry on smoking conventional cigarettes when there are e-cigarettes available,” he states, while adding that; “The vapour contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette smoke. In fact, concentrations are almost all well below a twentieth of cigarettes.”
Based on their research, Professor West and his colleague’s have estimated that for every million smokers that switched to e-cigarettes, 6000 lives could be saved, and if all nine million of the estimated smokers in the UK changed to vaping e-cigarettes, 90% of the current 60,000 premature deaths could be prevented.
The UCL’s team’s review and concerns have been backed up by other teams of researchers at Queen Mary’s University’s Tobacco Dependence Unit, as well as the National Addiction Centre at King’s College. They conducted a separate analysis of the research WHO published in their report last week, and came to the conclusion that some of WHO’s theories were “misleading”.
While it’s disappointing that such a well-respected and trusted body like WHO seemed to have shunned basic impartiality and only added to the sensationalist media conjecture that currently surrounds e-cigarette culture, it’s somewhat comforting to know that there are still some highly-regarded independent bodies out there conducting actual research into this relatively new technology, and are actually providing a logical and objective response to media speculation.