E-cigarette less harmful than cigarettes?

Study: E-cigarette less harmful than conventional glow sticks

The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) has also been available in Germany for several years, but has been highly controversial due to the lack of studies on its health effects. As part of a comprehensive study, US researchers have now shown that the e-cigarette is far less harmful than conventional tobacco.

Nicotine vapor instead of tobacco smoke With the so-called e-cigarette, no tobacco is burned, but instead liquid nicotine concentrate is vaporized with the help of a rechargeable battery and then inhaled. The electronic imitation resembles a conventional cigarette in every detail. The taste is simulated using aroma substances and even the "embers" begin to shine with every train. Critics, however, complain that the risks have not yet been sufficiently researched and that there are no guidelines for manufacturers. The EU Commission has therefore decided to recheck the approval of the e-cigarette and to ban the electronic glow sticks if necessary. However, the US scientists Zachary Cahn from the University of California at Berkeley and Michael Siegel from the Boston University School of Public Health are clearly against the ban on e-cigarettes, given their current study results. It is less harmful than conventional tobacco and can allow a gradual, slow exit from addiction, the US researchers said.

E-cigarette a thousand times less harmful When publishing their study results in the current issue of the journal "Journal of Public Health Policy", the US scientists point out that the smoke of a cigarette contains about a thousand times more carcinogenic substances than the nicotine vapor of an electronic one Cigarette. For their recently published study, Zachary Cahn and Michael Siegel had evaluated 16 different studies on the health effects of electronic cigarettes and their ingredients. Although they have not always been able to determine exactly what additives the nicotine concentrate contained in the electronic cigarettes, this is similar with conventional tobacco products and "we actually know more precisely what is in the e-cigarettes," emphasized Michael Siegel . With just one thousandth of the carcinogenic substances, inhaled nicotine vapor offers a healthier alternative to conventional tobacco smoke, according to the US researchers. In addition, the evaluation of the studies had indicated that the e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit. In this way, the e-cigarette could significantly reduce the desire to smoke and be an effective replacement for nicotine patches or chewing gum, the researchers explained. Because with imitation smoking, smokers can initially maintain their habits and at the same time reduce the daily dose more easily. In small and manageable steps, the detachment from tobacco is made considerably easier and the e-cigarette offers a good transition option to smoke-free, the US scientists explained.

US researchers against ban on e-cigarettes Given their study results, Zachary Cahn and Michael Siegel are massively opposed to a possible ban on e-cigarettes. On the one hand, this would be unfavorable for the smokers concerned and, on the other hand, would only serve the tobacco industry, the two scientists explained in the "Journal of Public Health Policy". According to Cahn and Siegel, the health benefits of e-cigarettes are higher than the open questions that critics of e-cigarettes have raised up to the present day. Their studies would provide an objective assessment of the health risks of e-cigarettes and ensure that tobacco manufacturers could not influence the investigation, the US researchers said. Because the only ones who would benefit from a ban are "the cigarette manufacturers, for whose sales the tobacco-free alternative is a threat," emphasized Michael Siegel. Although, according to Cahn and Siegel, further investigations and studies have to follow in order to be able to make clear statements, a ban would be counterproductive in the opinion of the two US scientists.

Critics see risk of increasing nicotine consumption Even though the US researchers have somewhat weakened the argument of e-cigarette critics that studies on the ingredients and their effects are lacking, the opponents of the electronic glow sticks still rightly criticize the missing guidelines and Regulations. In addition, despite other evidence in the current study, they see the e-cigarette as an entry drug rather than an exit drug. There is great danger that, for example, young people could be lured with the e-cigarette and thus the number of new consumers or the problem of nicotine consumption would be further increased, the e-cigarette critics fear. A decision on the legal use of e-cigarettes is expected in both the United States and Europe in the coming year. (fp)

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