It’s just over a decade since e-cigarettes first hit the shelves


It’s just over a decade since e-cigarettes first hit the shelves. Many studies have shown that e-cigarettes appear to be far safer than smoking. But there’s still a big misconception that Vaping are as harmful as smoking, and that could be stopping smokers who might benefit from switching to them.

A new study from a team of scientists at UCL helps put to rest these fears. And depending on how you define ‘long-term’, the findings are the most convincing evidence to date that e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking.

Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, accounting for around 6 million deaths each year. That’s thanks to the cocktail of over 5,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, of which at least 70 may cause cancer. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, do not contain tobacco. Instead, they carry a nicotine-containing liquid which is heated into a vapour and breathed in. The nicotine satisfies the cravings associated with a smoking addiction, but doesn’t cause cancer.

The fact that e-cigarettes don’t produce tobacco smoke and the countless chemicals found within it has always suggested that these devices should be safer than smoking. But when they first came to the market, there wasn’t enough research to be sure of this. This is why scientists around the world have sought to understand what’s in e-cigarettes and what the impact of these products might be.

Early studies looking into this showed that e-cigarette liquids and the vapour they produce, don’t contain the same level of most toxic chemicals as tobacco cigarettes. In fact, these levels have been found to be so low that Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians estimate that e-cigarettes are ‘around 95% SAFER than smoking’. But, until now, nobody had looked at what everyday users are actually exposed to, in the real-world.

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