Vaping presents no long-term health risks to non-smoking vapers, according to a newly-released study. The research, which was published in English scientific journal Nature, was also showcased at the E-Cigarette Summit held in London, U.K., this past November.
A joint study conducted by vaping researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Catania in Italy, looked at the effects of vaping in non-smoking vapers over a three-and-a-half-year period. The study also concentrated on non-vaping non-smokers, focussing mainly on coronary, pulmonary and circulatory vital signs, to assess whether vaping was having a negative effect.
The researchers measured participants’ body weight, heart rate, lung function, respiratory systems, blood pressure, along with exhaled carbon monoxide and nitric oxide. They also conducted high-resolution computed tomography of the lungs.
In a nutshell, the study could barely distinguish between non-vapers and vapers, which is proof enough that there are no notable health risks to vaping. Professor Polosa, who spoke when the study was presented in Sydney, called the research “reassuring”.
Daily e-cigarette usage caused no negative health impacts and barely affected the measures being studied at all. Crucially, the study found that vaping did not cause lung inflammation or adversely affect lung function. The HRCT returned no respiratory symptoms or structural oddities in the lungs.
While the sample size for this study was small, the very long research period makes it unique and valuable to e-cigarette researchers. By studying the long-term effects of e-cigarettes in a more detailed way than ever before, scientists can better determine the health risks they pose, or lack of them.
The study found that even those who vaped the highest quantities of e-liquid did no damage to their lungs or heart, with blood pressure and average heart rate remaining unchanged. Meanwhile, lung damage can often be detected in young smokers after smoking for a mere two years.
What makes this study so revolutionary is that by not testing smokers, the researchers could obtain truer results on the effects of vaping, with no smoking history to pour doubt over the findings. Past research has tended, understandably, to compare smokers and vapers, rather than non-vapers and vapers, since the main argument for vaping has been tobacco harm reduction.
Yet smokers will still greatly benefit from this research, which shows that switching from smoking to vaping could genuinely make a difference to long-term health. Moreover, many smokers have been reluctant to start vaping due to the persistent promotion of sketchy, biased anti-vaping research in the media.
American Vaping Association (AVA) President, Gregory Conley, asked a brilliant question in the association’s press release on the study. He wondered whether it was an ethical move to keep warning smokers away from vaping, given the research that long-term vaping has no negative health impacts.
For long-term smokers who have struggled to quit, it’s often a choice between smoking and vaping. Surely it’s better to encourage them to use e-cigarettes than leave them to keep damaging their health with combustibles?