Congressionally-Mandated Report Confirms E-Cigarettes Are Less Harmful Than Combustible Cigarettes

Congressionally-Mandated Report Confirms E-Cigarettes Are Less Harmful Than Combustible Cigarettes

Congressionally-Mandated Report Confirms E-Cigarettes Are Less Harmful Than Combustible Cigarettes

The long-awaited, congressionally-mandated National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s comprehensive health review of an excess of 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the human health effects of e-cigarettes recently released its findings. Among its 47 conclusions, the report suggests that although the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are not yet apparent due to the lack of sufficient data available, there is evidence that they are likely to be much less harmful than combustible cigarettes.

The study found conclusive evidence to support that completely replacing the use of traditional cigarettes with their electronic counterparts reduces exposure to numerous toxic substances, including carcinogens, present in regular cigarettes. In addition to a reduced number of toxicants, the report found substantial evidence supporting that a lower level of toxic substances are present in e-cigarettes when compared to combustible cigarettes.

Additionally, the report concluded that completely switching to e-cigarettes is highly likely to result in reduced short-term adverse outcomes in multiple organ systems. On the other hand, for dual users, those who use both combustible and e-cigarettes concurrently, there was insufficient evidence to suggest any changes in negative short-term health impacts in those same organs.

The report also found that, despite the limited evidence available, e-cigarettes “may be effective aids to promote smoking cessation” and that “more frequent use of e-cigarettes is associated with increased likelihood of cessation.”

The data also suggests, however, that e-cigarette use can result in symptoms of dependence. This conclusion is hardly surprising given that nicotine, although delivered through a significantly safer mechanism with e-cigarettes, remains an addictive substance.

While the use of e-cigarettes was deemed less harmful, the report did point out that exposure to e-liquids, such as eye contact with the product, or worse, drinking or injecting it, can have severe health impacts, which emphasizes the importance of using the electronic products as they are meant to rather than tinkering with them.

Although the report found that among youth and young adults, the use of e-cigarettes increases the risk of ever using combustible cigarettes, “under the assumption that e-cigarette use increases the rate at which adults quit conventional smoking, modeling projects that use of e-cigarettes will generate a net public health benefit, at least in the short run.”

What do you think of the conclusions provided by this report? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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