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Vapes ‘significantly safer’ than cigarettes, independent study confirms claims

February 8, 2022

Photo: iStock

A new independent paper has confirmed previous claims that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than cigarettes. It is the first independent study to confirm similar prior conclusions drawn from tobacco industry studies.

According to a paper published in Scientific Reports, e-cigarettes possess “substantially reduced toxicity” when compared with cigarette smoke. In fact, in most of the experiments conducted, e-cigarettes were shown to exert no toxicity. They also confirmed that it is mostly the volatile compounds in cigarette smoke rather than nicotine that make it dangerous to the lung epithelium, or lining of the lung.

The researchers said this was an independent confirmation of studies previously conducted by the tobacco industry. The previous tobacco industry study did differ in methodology in that the original studies used diluted samples – smoke/vapour mixed with air – whereas these new experiments used undiluted samples of smoke/vapour.

Acute cytotoxicity is due mainly to effects of the volatile components of cigarette smoke on the cells of the lung epithelium rather than by Total particulate matter (TPM) or nicotine,” says the paper. 

“In our comparison of the cytotoxicity induced by conventional cigarette smoke and the aerosol of e-cigarettes in experiment, we ensured that the cell culture was exposed to similar amounts of nicotine from all products.

“We found no toxicity to lung cells from e-cigarette aerosol,” the study concluded. 

The study’s findings come as a few months after it was declared that e-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated guidance that paves the way for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed to tobacco smokers who wish to quit smoking.

Manufacturers are invited by the MHRA to submit their products to go through the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available on the health service, paving the way for England to become the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product.