The Science of Smoking

Monday 20th October, 2014 | Vaping News | 3 Comments

The debate about the safety of vaping, and whether it should be subjected to rules and regulations as stringent as those surrounding the use of traditional cigarettes, is raging across the world.

Researchers are faced with providing the answers to three main questions: are electronic cigarettes safe, do they encourage young people to start smoking, and can they help addicted smokers quit the habit? They need to answer these crucial questions in a hurry, because politicians are looking to score popularity points by denigrating vaping as a social evil, akin to smoking regular cigarettes. Politicians have jumped on this bandwagon and are highlighting any negative opinions emanating from the scientific community about e-cigs.

Looking For Conclusive Proof?

Scientists, in their turn, have been caught “on the hop”, taken by surprise with the demands for results from politicians in the face of the relatively sudden escalation of e-cigarette technology and use.

If the scientific community is floundering, then how is smoking Joe Public supposed to keep abreast of developments related to this viable and attractive alternative?

Science Supports Vaping

Earlier this year the scientific journal, Addiction, analysed 81 studies about e-cigs. The results were clear – vaping is safer than smoking conventional cigarettes, and there is plenty of evidence that electronic cigarettes help smokers to quit the habit.

Addiction ( is well respected as a monthly international scientific journal, publishing peer-reviewed research about not only tobacco use, but alcohol, illegal drugs and gambling as well.

The review was conducted by an international team led by Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University in London – one of the UK’s leading research institutions.

Toxicity Levels of E Cigs vs Tobacco

The Science of Smoking

On the safety aspect – arguably the most important – when researchers compared the toxins in tobacco smoke with the vapour emitted by e-cigs, the review found overwhelmingly that the carcinogens in electronic cigarettes were negligible. Testing of 12 e-cig brands that provide differing amounts of nicotine per puff found they contained toxic levels between nine and 450 times lower than in conventional cigarette smoke.

It would seem, then, that the safety aspect depends on the reputation and reliability of the brand that vapers choose. Like any consumer-driven enterprise, are aware that quality is key, and that is why this market-leading UK brand is continually keeping abreast of innovations and technology in the e-cigarette market.

The Addiction review also recommended that health professionals can confidently recommend e-cigs, which can control nicotine intake, to help their patients quit smoking, reducing smoking urges.

Vaping and Under 18's

The Science of Smoking

When it comes to the much-perpetuated argument that electronic cigarettes encourage youngsters to take up smoking tobacco, a very recent study unveiled at the Public Health England conference in Coventry has scotched the myth.

The data was compiled by the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) group, which reported the findings of a survey of more than 4,000 11-18 year olds during 2013 and 2014.

In an exclusive interview with the professional online journal, Nursing in Practice, ASH director of policy Hazel Cheeseman was quoted as saying that the study “should reassure the public” that there was no evidence for the fact that vaping would lead young people into conventional smoking.

“The use (of e-cigarettes) in young people is very low. There’s a growing level of experimentation but it doesn’t seem to be translating into large numbers of people using them. We’re just not seeing kids who have never smoked taking up electronic cigarettes.”

To corroborate her words, the study found that 91% of the young people surveyed had never tried an electronic cigarette, and 94% said they had no intention to smoke or vape.

An Alternative That's Here to Stay

The Science of Smoking

While most researchers are concerned about the fact that they have had limited time to assess the long term health impacts of vaping, all are in agreement that it is a better alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes.

Even with Google it is difficult to identify how many people in the UK are vaping, but a Guardian newspaper report earlier this year claimed it was in the region of two million.

It is obvious, then, that vaping is here to stay… unless and until the Government decides to impinge on even this aspect of our human rights. Most vapers are taking to the alternative because they want to go toxic smoke free, but the authorities are making this difficult.

Hopefully science will prevail and people will come to the realisation that e-cigs are the way forward to cure us all of the historically induced blight of conventional tobacco consumption.

Only a long-term smoker can understand the delight of having a healthier alternative available. Thank goodness for the option of vaping! We are all well aware that we need to reduce the consumption of traditional tobacco to decrease the incidence of mortality that it entails. Like all scientific and technological advancements, however, this will take time to accomplish.