Many cell and animal studies do not compare the effects of vaping to those of smoking, and therefore the findings are hard to interpret.
The research team led by renowned award winning Professor Riccardo Polosa, conducted a comprehensive review of studies analysing the link between vaping, smoking and lung health. In line with findings by the British Lung Foundation and reflecting the real-world experience of millions of users, the compiled data indicated that vaping is significantly safer on the lungs than smoking.
Published last week in the journal Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, the findings are important in that they support efforts by multiple public health entities, who have long been suggesting the use of electronic cigarettes for harm reduction and smoking cessation.
The researchers were not surprised by these findings, as multiple studies analysing e-cig vapour have already shown that it contains far fewer chemicals than cigarette smoke, and at much lower levels.
Most e-cig studies are poorly designed
However, a fact that stood out in this review which has also been pointed out before by other researchers, is that many studies on the topic are poorly designed and therefore produce misleading results. Moreover, added the researchers, many cell and animal studies do not compare the effects of vaping to those of smoking, and therefore the findings are hard to interpret.
“We critically assess published research on the respiratory system investigating the effects of ECs in preclinical models, clinical studies of people who switched to ECs from tobacco cigarettes, and population surveys. We assess the studies for the quality of their methodology and accuracy of their interpretation. To adequately assess the impact of EC use on human health, addressing common mistakes and developing robust and realistic methodological recommendations is an urgent priority,” read the study Abstract.
“The findings of this review indicate that ECs under normal conditions of use demonstrate far fewer respiratory risks than combustible tobacco cigarettes. EC users and smokers considering ECs have the right to be informed about the relative risks of EC use, and to be made aware that findings of studies published by the media are not always reliable,” concluded Polosa and his team.
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