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A new study has provided further evidence that vaping has no harmful implications for health, at least in the short to medium term. Carried out for Fontem Ventures, an Imperial Brands subsidiary that manufactures the Blu closed-system e-cigarette, the experiment involved a large group of smokers who volunteered to use a reduced risk product.

Scientists tested for short and longer-term effects

The clinical trial followed more than 200 volunteers who switched from smoking to an e-cigarette and used it continuously for two years; during this period they were monitored continuously for health problems, and at the end of the study they were checked for a range of key markers. The researchers found that there were no serious health issues linked to e-cig use; some users suffered headaches, coughing, sore throats and nasopharyngitis shortly after switching, but these faded over time.

More importantly, the volunteers showed no signs of heart or lung problems at the end of the trial. Nicotine levels were close to those at the start of the period; withdrawal symptoms were not significant, and had more or less disappeared by the second month. There were also no signs of weight gain, a common problem when people quit smoking using traditional methods. The overall conclusion was that “the aerosol of the EVP (Electronic Vapour Product) at study was well tolerated and not associated with any clinically relevant health concerns after usage for up to 24 months.”

Funding will attract critics – but the science is sound

While this study is likely to be criticised because it was carried out for the tobacco industry, the actual research was done by independent labs. The results were analysed by a team from Fontem headed by company science director Tanvir Walele, then peer-reviewed before publication in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. This research agrees with an earlier review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an internationally respected independent group; Cochrane also found no health risks associated with vaping.

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