Whenever I tell anyone I research e-cigarettes, they almost always have an opinion about them. Some will be vapers themselves, and people who are will almost without fail sing the praises of the device that finally helped them give up smoking. But often people who’ve never tried e-cigarettes will focus on the potential risks from using them, and in particular whether they’re likely to reintroduce smoking to a young generation who have been steadily shunning it in larger and larger numbers over recent decades. A particular fear is that younger people will test out e-cigarettes and that this will be a gateway in to smoking, as well as fears around the harms from e-cigarettes themselves.
A newly released detailed study of over 60,000 UK 11-16 year olds finds that young adults who experiment with e-cigarettes are often people who already smoke cigarettes, as well as then experimentation mostly doesn’t translate to regular use. Not only that, but smoking rates among young adults in the UK are still declining. Studies conducted currently investigating the gateway hypothesis that vaping results in smoking have tended to check out whether having ever tried an e-cigarette predicts later smoking. But younger people who test out e-cigarettes will be different from those who don’t in plenty of other ways – maybe they’re just more keen to adopt risks, which would also raise the likelihood that they’d experiment with cigarettes too, regardless of whether they’d used e-cigarettes.
Although you can find a small minority of young adults who do start to use e-cigarettes without previously as being a smoker, as yet there’s little evidence that this then increases the risk of them becoming Best E Cigarette Reviews. Enhance this reports from Public Health England that have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you will think that would be the conclusion from the fear surrounding them.
But e-cigarettes have really divided the general public health community, with researchers that have the common goal of decreasing the degrees of smoking and smoking-related harm suddenly finding themselves on opposite sides in the debate. This really is concerning, and partly because in a relative dearth of research on the devices the same findings are employed by either side to back up and criticise e-cigarettes. And all this disagreement is playing in the media, meaning an unclear picture of the things we know (and don’t know) about e-cigarettes has been portrayed, with vapers feeling persecuted and those that have not even tried to quit mistakenly believing that there’s no point in switching, as e-cigarettes may be just as harmful as smoking.
An unexpected results of this might be which it can make it harder to accomplish the very research needed to elucidate longer-term outcomes of e-cigarettes. Which is one thing we’re experiencing since we try to recruit for our current study. We are conducting a research project funded by CRUK, where we’re collecting saliva samples from smokers, vapers and non-smokers. We’re checking out DNA methylation, a biological marker that influences gene expression. It’s been proven that smokers use a distinct methylation profile, when compared with non-smokers, and it’s probable that these changes in methylation could be connected to the increased risk of harm from smoking – as an example cancer risk. Even when the methylation changes don’t make the increased risk, they could be a marker of this. We would like to compare the patterns seen in smokers and non-smokers with those of electronic cigarette users, potentially giving us some insight in to the long-term impact of vaping, without having to wait for time to elapse. Methylation changes happen relatively quickly than the beginning of chronic illnesses.
Area of the difficulty with this particular is that we understand that smokers and ex-smokers have a distinct methylation pattern, and we don’t want this clouding any pattern from vaping, which suggests we have to recruit vapers who’ve never (or certainly only very rarely) smoked. Which is proving challenging for 2 reasons. Firstly, as borne out by the recent research, it’s rare for people who’ve never smoked cigarettes to take up regular vaping. Yes, maybe they’ll experiment, but that doesn’t necessarily result in an electronic cigarette habit.
But on top of that, an unexpected problem continues to be the unwillingness of some within the vaping community to assist us recruit. And they’re postpone as a result of fears that whatever we find, the final results will be employed to paint a poor picture of vaping, and vapers, by people who have an agenda to push. I don’t want to downplay the extreme helpfulness of lots of kbajyo inside the vaping community in assisting us to recruit – thanks, you already know who you really are. However I was really disheartened to hear that for many, the misinformation and scaremongering around vaping has reached the point where they’re opting out from the research entirely. And after speaking to people directly about this, it’s difficult to criticize their reasoning. We now have also discovered that numerous electronic cigarette retailers were immune to setting up posters looking to recruit people who’d never smoked, as they didn’t want to be seen to be promoting electronic cigarette utilization in people who’d never smoked, which is again completely understandable and really should be applauded.
So what can we do relating to this? I hope that as increasing numbers of research is conducted, so we get clearer information on e-cigarettes capacity to act as a smoking cessation tool, the disagreement around them will disappear. For the time being, Hopefully vapers continue to agree to take part in research so that we can fully explore the potential for these units, in particular those rare “unicorns” who vape but have never smoked, as they may be essential to helping us be aware of the impact of vaping, in comparison with smoking.