Just how much of a cancer risk is there associated with puffing on electronic cigarettes?
Speaking to members of parliament (MPs) in the United Kingdom, Peter Hajek, a professor of clinical psychology with London’s Queen Mary University, reportedly said that studies have shown the risk of cancer associated with e-cigs to be less than half the risk exhibited by traditional cigarettes.
As for nicotine itself, Hajek was quoted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Pharmaceutical Journal as having said that it’s “not a carcinogenic substance” and that there currently isn’t any evidence that it has any sort of carcinogenic effect.
“Nicotine is not a carcinogenic substance and there is no evidence that nicotine has a carcinogenic effect.”
Based on such testimony, it may come as no surprise to find that England’s public healthcare system is currently recommending vaping to smokers as a smoking cessation with the hopes that some will give up the cigarette.
To be clear, however, they are not recommending that people who don’t smoke begin vaping. What are they are recommending is that those who have tried other smoking cessations without success try vaping as there are those who have managed to quit smoking after taking up vaping instead.
The official recommendation from Public Health England (PHE) is that “smokers who have tried other methods of quitting without success could be encouraged to try e-cigarettes to stop smoking.”
As for the health consequences of e-cigs in comparison to traditional tobacco cigarettes, PHE informed the public back in 2015 that the best estimates at the time showed e-cigarettes to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
“There has been an overall shift towards the inaccurate perception of EC being as harmful as cigarettes over the last year in contrast to the current expert estimate that using EC is around 95% safer than smoking.”
At the time, PHE also indicated that switching to electronic cigarettes “could help reduce smoking related disease, death and health inequalities.”
“Encouraging smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking to switch to EC could help reduce smoking related disease, death and health inequalities.”
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, regulatory efforts are making it increasingly difficult for people to vape instead of smoke. In San Francisco, California, the city banned the sale of flavored e-juices within its city limits. In Taiwan, the country’s government is considering completely banning e-cigs across the country. And in Australia, vapers can’t buy nicotine vaping products without a prescription from a registered physician.