Whenever I tell anyone I research e-cigarettes, they almost always have an opinion about them. Some will be vapers themselves, and those that are will almost without fail sing the praises of the device that finally helped them stop smoking. But often people who’ve never tried e-cigarettes will focus on the potential risks from using them, and in particular whether they’re likely to reintroduce smoking to a young generation who have been steadily shunning it in larger and larger numbers over recent decades. A certain fear is that young adults will test out e-cigarettes and that this will be a gateway in to smoking, as well as fears around the harms from e-cigarettes themselves.
A recent detailed study of over 60,000 UK 11-16 year olds found that young adults who experiment with e-cigarettes are generally those who already smoke cigarettes, as well as then experimentation mostly doesn’t translate to regular use. In addition to that, but smoking rates among young people throughout the uk remain declining. Studies conducted currently investigating the gateway hypothesis that vaping results in smoking have tended to check out whether having ever tried an electronic cigarette predicts later smoking. But young people who test out e-cigarettes are going to be distinct from people who don’t in a lot of other ways – maybe they’re just more keen to adopt risks, which will also boost the likelihood that they’d experiment with cigarettes too, whether or not they’d used e-cigarettes.
Although there are a small minority of younger people that do begin to use e-cigarettes without previously as being a smoker, as yet there’s little evidence this then increases the chance of them becoming E Cigarette Reviews. Add to this reports from Public Health England who have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you will think that might be the conclusion in the fear surrounding them.
But e-cigarettes have really divided people health community, with researchers that have the normal aim of reducing the amounts of smoking and smoking-related harm suddenly finding themselves on opposite sides of the debate. This really is concerning, and partly because in a relative dearth of research on the devices the identical findings are being used by both sides to aid and criticise e-cigarettes. And all this disagreement is playing outside in the media, meaning an unclear picture of the items we realize (and don’t know) about e-cigarettes will be portrayed, with vapers feeling persecuted and people who have not even made an effort to quit mistakenly believing that there’s no point in switching, as e-cigarettes could be equally as harmful as smoking.
An unexpected results of this may be which it causes it to be harder to accomplish the particular research needed to elucidate longer-term results of e-cigarettes. Which is a thing we’re experiencing as we try to recruit for your current study. Our company is performing a research project funded by CRUK, where we’re collecting saliva samples from smokers, vapers and non-smokers. We’re looking at DNA methylation, a biological marker that influences gene expression. It’s been demonstrated that smokers use a distinct methylation profile, compared to non-smokers, and it’s likely that these changes in methylation could be linked to the increased probability of harm from smoking – for example cancer risk. Even when the methylation changes don’t result in the increased risk, they might be a marker of this. We would like to compare the patterns observed in smokers and non-smokers with the ones from e-cigarette users, potentially giving us some insight in to the long-term impact of vaping, while not having to wait for time to elapse. Methylation changes happen relatively quickly as compared to the start of chronic illnesses.
Part of the difficulty using this is that we understand that smokers and ex-smokers possess a distinct methylation pattern, and that we don’t want this clouding any pattern from vaping, which means we need to recruit vapers who’ve never (or certainly only rarely) smoked. Which is proving challenging for just two reasons. Firstly, as borne out from the recent research, it’s unusual for folks who’ve never smoked cigarettes to take up regular vaping. Yes, maybe they’ll experiment, but that doesn’t necessarily result in an e-cigarette habit.
But additionally, an unexpected problem continues to be the unwillingness of some in the vaping community to help us recruit. And they’re delay as a result of fears that whatever we find, the results will be employed to paint a poor picture of vaping, and vapers, by people with an agenda to push. I don’t want to downplay the extreme helpfulness of plenty of kbajyo within the vaping community in helping us to recruit – thanks, you understand who you are. Having Said That I was really disheartened to hear that for many, the misinformation and scaremongering around vaping has reached the stage where they’re opting from the research entirely. And after talking with people directly concerning this, it’s hard to criticize their reasoning. We now have also learned that numerous e-cigarette retailers were resistant against putting up posters aiming to recruit people who’d never smoked, because they didn’t desire to be seen to be promoting electronic cigarette utilization in people who’d never smoked, which can be again completely understandable and must be applauded.
So what can we do about this? Hopefully as more scientific studies are conducted, and we get clearer info on e-cigarettes capability to act as a quitting smoking tool, the disagreement around them will disappear. Until then, I hope that vapers continue to agree to take part in research so that we can fully explore the potential for these products, particularly those rare “unicorns” who vape but have never smoked, as they could be important to helping us understand the impact of vaping, as compared to smoking.