Electronic cigarettes are quite likely doing less harm compared to traditional versions, as suggested by an evaluation of scientific research done at present.
Scientists hold the argument that replacing regular cigarettes with e-cigars could cut down smoking-related mortality, although its long-term effects remain unknown.
Researchers suggest that less strict regulations should be imposed on e-cigarettes than tobacco. However, experts still warn that encouraging their application without having robust proof is a reckless undertaking. Nearly two million individuals use e-cigarettes within the UK, whose popularity is growing all across the globe.
The WHO along with national authorities has been reviewing policies for restricting their advertising, sales and use.
A team of international analysts scrutinised 81 studies, which looked at:
- Concerns of safety
- Chemicals within the vapours and liquids
- Application among non-smokers and smokers
Scientists indicate that less risk is posed to users as well as passive bystanders compared to that occasioned by smoke from cigarettes. They nonetheless caution that effects caused on individuals having respiratory complications are not understood in full. They also state that e-cigarettes have several toxins similar to those present in smoke from tobacco, though at levels much lower.
The researchers report that no evidence currently suggests that children transition from experimenting with electronic cigarettes to regular usage. They conclude that these products in effect do not motivate the youth to pick up regular smoking behaviour. Their analysis indicates that switching to electronic cigarettes could aid tobacco smokers in quitting or reducing consumption of cigarettes.
Queen Mary University in London’s Professor Peter Hajek, who co-authored the paper, informed the BBC that it was not final on the risk-list, but others could soon emerge. He observed that still, regulators should be careful not to cripple the market for electronic cigarettes and by this fail offering access of these safer options to smokers, which could end up saving their lives.
The scientist states that putting stringent regulations in place presently can damage public health to a large extent. Researchers offer the conclusion that more studies should be done for the long term, comparing health of e-cigarette users with that of smokers.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Professor Martin McKee, who is excluded in this evaluation, notified the BBC that professionals in health care are divided deeply on electronic cigarettes. He states that professionals treating smokers suffering from severe addiction to nicotine view these aids as offering an alternative safer to smoking cigarettes.
A host of others are quite concerned about the serious considerations remaining regarding their safety, like the team of 129 experts in health who wrote to WHO recently, citing serious unaddressed concerns pertaining to their safety, absent evidence to the effect they aid smokers in quitting and how they are currently undergoing exploitation by tobacco industry while targeting children.
Professor McKee states the report acknowledges that huge gaps exist in what is already known – but still encourages using these products. It seems nearly reckless. Martin Dockrell said at Public Health England that there were an increasing proportion of smokers turning to such gadgets to aid in quitting, with emerging evidence they still remain effective for such objective.
It is necessary regulating e-cigarettes in proportionate manner and in a way that ensures availability of effective and safe products, along with preventing marketing electronic cigarettes to non-smokers and the youth. According to Mr. Dockrell, these measures will help optimise public health gains while also managing risks involved.