Long-term smokers who start vaping see health benefits within a month

From New Scientist – November 15, 2019

Long-term smokers who switched to vaping were halfway towards achieving the vascular health of a non-smoker within a month, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Dundee, UK, said they discovered a “clear early benefit” in switching from smoking to vaping, in the largest clinical trial to date.

Those who ditched cigarettes and vaped instead saw their blood vessel function increase by around 1.5 percentage points within four weeks compared with those who continued smoking.

The researchers said they didn’t know whether this benefit would be sustained, with more research needed into the long-term implications of vaping. They also warned that vaping isn’t safe, merely “less harmful” than smoking.

But they said that if this improvement were sustained into the long-term, those who switched would have at least a 13 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks.

The study recruited 114 adults in the UK who had smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day for at least two years and were free from established cardiovascular disease.

Forty continued smoking tobacco cigarettes, 37 switched to e-cigarettes with nicotine and 37 switched to e-cigarettes without.

The researchers measured shifts in blood vessel function – the earliest detectable change to cardiovascular health – through a test known as flow mediated dilation (FMD) that assesses how far a blood vessel opens. They used another test to measure the vessels’ stiffness.

Overall, the groups who switched to e-cigarettes experienced a 1.49 percentage point improvement in their vascular function compared with those who continued smoking.

Separate research has shown that for every 1 percentage point improvement in vascular health, 13 per cent fewer cardiovascular events occur over the long-term.


Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2223624-long-term-smokers-who-start-vaping-see-health-benefits-within-a-month


expert reaction to study looking at e-cigarette vapour and vascular effects in mice and smokers

Research, published in the European Heart Journal, reports on the relationship between e-cigarette use and damage to the brain, blood vessels, and lungs.  Experts from Science Media Centre react to the study.

Click here to read all expert reaction – https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-study-looking-at-e-cigarette-vapour-and-vascular-effects-in-mice-and-smokers/

Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London, said:

“The authors detected two effects.  In human smokers, nicotine from e-cigarettes produced a typical acute stimulant effect, also seen after drinking coffee, that on its own signals no danger.  In mice and in tissue samples, acrolein, a chemical that can be generated when e-liquid is fried, had more damaging effects.  This however is not relevant for human vapers.  Frying e-liquid produces this chemical, but this also produces aversive taste that vapers avoid.  Human vapers have acrolein levels that are similar to non-smokers and much lower than in smokers.”

Prof Ajay Shah, Head of School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, and BHF Professor of Cardiology, King’s College London, said:

“This study convincingly shows that the use of e-cigarettes in people who are cigarette smokers causes a short-term additional impairment of the function of the inner lining of blood vessels – the endothelium.  It is recognised that persistent abnormal function of the endothelium predisposes in the long-term (several years) to furring up of the arteries which can lead to heart attacks or stroke.  The effect here of an e-cigarette vaping episode on the endothelium is similar to the short-term effects of cigarette smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes, but whether it would have similar long-term detrimental effects on health cannot be determined from this study.  It is important to note that the researchers did not study the effects of e-cigarettes on healthy non-smokers but only in people who regularly smoke cigarettes and whose endothelium may already be slightly abnormal – so we cannot fully extrapolate these results to non-smokers.  They also only studied the effects of one episode of vaping.

“The second part of the study was to expose mice to e-cigarette vapour for up to five days and assess the impact on vessels, the lungs and the brain.  The researchers found evidence of some damage to all these organs but these results are less straightforward to extrapolate to humans, and the researchers did not include all the appropriate control groups to improve confidence in this result.  The conclusions from the animal studies regarding possible effects on the lungs and brain therefore require further research in people to assess if the same happens in humans.  However, it is quite clear that e-cigarettes appear to cause potentially harmful effects on the endothelium in people who are regular cigarette vapers, indicating that they are not harmless.”

Click here to read all expert reaction – https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-study-looking-at-e-cigarette-vapour-and-vascular-effects-in-mice-and-smokers/

Vaping illness, deaths likely very rare beyond U.S., experts say

LONDON (Reuters) – E-cigarette or vaping-linked lung injuries that have killed 29 and sickened more than 1,000 people in the United States are likely to be rare in Britain and other countries where the suspect products are not widely used, specialists said on Monday.

Read full article on Reuters

Experts in toxicology and addiction said they are sure that the 1,299 confirmed and probable American cases of serious lung injuries linked to vaping are “a U.S.-specific phenomenon,” and there is no evidence of a similar pattern of illness in Britain or elsewhere.

“What’s happening in the U.S. is not happening here (in Britain), nor is it happening in any other countries where vaping is common,” said John Britton, a professor and respiratory medicine consultant and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies at Nottingham University.

“It’s a localised problem,” he told a London briefing.

U.S. investigators and health officials have said there may be more than one cause for the cases of vaping lung illness. They have also pointed to vaping oils containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, as being especially risky.

In Britain, which currently has 3.6 million regular e-cigarette users, such oils are banned and advertising of vapes is much more tightly regulated than in the United States, said Ann McNeill, a professor of tobacco addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.

Read full article on Reuters

IVVA Backs EU Vaping is NOT Tobacco Campaign

Vaping is under threat. We need vapers in Ireland to tell the European Commission that vaping products are not the same as tobacco products and should be taken out of the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

IVVA member shops will have petitions for signing, available in their shops over the coming days / weeks. Additionally, you may also sign the online petition here – https://vapingisnottobacco.eu

This European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) enables like-minded citizens from across the European Union to demand regulatory change from the European Commission. The ECI gives you – the citizen – a greater say in laws that affect your daily life. We need one million signatures (8,000 from Ireland) to create this change.

We therefore call upon European regulators to take vaping products out of the Tobacco Products Directive and to create a proportionate and evidence-based regulatory environment that:

  1. Allows smokers to have access to accurate and credible information about the relative safety of vaping versus smoking
  2. Allows smokers to have access to vaping products that can effectively help them to reduce and replace smoking.
  3. Allows flavoured vaping liquids
  4. Prevents access by young people to vaping products
  5. Reduces risks for consumers of vaping products by introducing robust product quality, manufacturing and safety standards
  6. Ensures responsible marketing for vaping products that does not target youth:


Sign online at https://vapingisnottobacco.eu/en/take_action/

Popularity of vaping not leading to more teen smoking

from Irish Times – read full article here https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/popularity-of-vaping-not-leading-to-more-teen-smokers

Proportion of teens saying it is okay to try a cigarette down from 70% in 1999 to 27% in 2015

Growth in the use of e-cigarettes has not led to more young people taking up tobacco smoking, new research suggests.

The latest in a string of studies on a subject that continues to divide opinion found perceptions against tobacco smoking have hardened in recent years, although it does not establish The results of ‘Have e-cigarettes re-normalised or displaced youth smoking?’ were published in Tobacco Control by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Researchers analysed national UK survey responses from school children between the ages of 13 and 15 since 1998. In particular, they looked at the period between 2011 and 2015 when e-cigarette use proliferated.

from Irish Times – read full article here https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/popularity-of-vaping-not-leading-to-more-teen-smokers

E-cigarettes ‘much better for quitting smoking’

from BBC – https://www.bbc.com/news/health-47041111

E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine replacements for helping smokers quit, a study suggests.

A trial found 18% of smokers who used them to quit remained smoke-free after a year, compared with 9.9% of those using nicotine-replacement treatments.

The study of 886 smokers is the first to test how effective modern e-cigarettes are for quitting.

Researchers hope their findings will lead to vaping devices being routinely offered by stop-smoking services.

Public Health England has already called for e-cigarettes to be made available on the NHS within five years, pointing to a body of research that suggests they are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

However, up until now there had been a shortage of evidence on how effective they were as stop-smoking tools.

Lead researcher Prof Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, said: “Although a large number of smokers report that they have quit smoking successfully with the help of e-cigarettes, health professionals have been reluctant to recommend their use because of the lack of clear evidence from randomised controlled trials.

“This is now likely to change.”

read full article at – https://www.bbc.com/news/health-47041111

Vapers rise ‘to more than three million’ in Britain

from BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45513762

The number of vapers in Great Britain has topped three million for the first time – four times the number in 2012, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health.

Most use e-cigarettes because they have quit smoking and 40% are smokers who are trying to give up.

The estimations are based on a survey of 12,000 British adults.

But a “worrying” belief that vaping is as bad as smoking still exists, a King’s College London analysis found.

Earlier this year, Public Health England said e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription because of how successful they were in helping people give up smoking.

And a report by MPs in August said rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed and their use on public transport debated.

Ash, the public health charity, said this survey suggested smokers were getting the message that switching to vaping could improve their health.

It estimates a 10% rise in e-cigarette users between 2017 and 2018, up from 2.9 to 3.2 million.

But there are still some smokers – about a third – who have never tried one.

Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation, said: “It’s really encouraging to see smokers using e-cigarettes to help them quit the much more harmful practice of smoking.”

She said doctors and pharmacists “should be very clear with people that there is a range of products available and that they can try vaping as a way to stop smoking”.

read full article – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45513762

E-cigarettes can be key weapon against smoking, say MPs

from BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45212444

Rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed so they can be more widely used and accepted in society, says a report by MPs.

Vaping is much less harmful than normal cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people quit smoking, it said.

The report also asks the government to consider their use on buses and trains.

There is no evidence e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking for young people, Public Health England said.

The report on e-cigarettes, by the science and technology MPs’ committee, said they were too often overlooked by the NHS as a tool to help people stop smoking.

For example, it said it was “unacceptable” that a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England had a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises, when there was a “negligible health risk” from second hand e-cigarette vapour.
What else do the MPs say?

In the report they call for:

greater freedom for industry to advertise e-cigarettes
relaxing of regulations and tax duties on e-cigarettes to reflect their relative health benefits
an annual review of the health effects of e-cigarettes, as well as heat-not-burn products
a debate on vaping in public spaces, such as on public transport and in offices
e-cigarettes licensed as medical devices
a rethink on limits on refill strengths and tank sizes
an end to the ban on snus – an oral tobacco product which is illegal in the UK under EU rules

Read full article at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45212444

 

PHE publishes independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review

A new Public Health England (PHE) e-cigarette evidence review, undertaken by leading independent tobacco experts, provides an update on PHE’s 2015 review.

The report covers e-cigarette use among young people and adults, public attitudes, the impact on quitting smoking, an update on risks to health and the role of nicotine. It also reviews heated tobacco products.

The main findings of PHE’s evidence review are that:

  • vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits
  • e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more
  • e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country
  • many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette
    there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine)
  • the use of e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued over the last few years at just under 3 million
  • the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people (youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline, regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked)

PHE’s evidence review comes just a few weeks after a US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on e-cigarettes. Their conclusion on e-cigarette safety also finds that based on the available evidence ‘e-cigarettes are likely to be far less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes.’

Professor John Newton, Director for Health Improvement at PHE said:

Every minute someone is admitted to hospital from smoking, with around 79,000 deaths a year in England alone.

Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know.

It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.

Professor Ann McNeill, lead author and Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London said:

It’s of great concern that smokers still have such a poor understanding about what causes the harm from smoking. When people smoke tobacco cigarettes, they inhale a lethal mix of 7,000 smoke constituents, 70 of which are known to cause cancer.

People smoke for the nicotine, but contrary to what the vast majority believe, nicotine causes little if any of the harm. The toxic smoke is the culprit and is the overwhelming cause of all the tobacco-related disease and death. There are now a greater variety of alternative ways of getting nicotine than ever before, including nicotine gum, nasal spray, lozenges and e-cigarettes.

Professor Linda Bauld, author and Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling and Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK said:

Concern has been expressed that e-cigarette use will lead young people into smoking. But in the UK, research clearly shows that regular use of e-cigarettes among young people who have never smoked remains negligible, less than 1%, and youth smoking continues to decline at an encouraging rate. We need to keep closely monitoring these trends, but so far the data suggest that e-cigarettes are not acting as a route into regular smoking amongst young people.

PHE is calling on smokers and a number of bodies to act on the evidence.

Read full release here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review

 

Headlines saying ‘vaping might cause cancer’ are wildly misleading

from Cancer Research UK
http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2018/01/30/headlines-saying-vaping-might-cause-cancer-are-wildly-misleading/

E-cigarettes are in the news again. This time with headlines that they may cause cancer.

But the study that the stories are based on, published in the journal PNAS, doesn’t show this.

What did the study do?

Researchers from New York University School of Medicine looked at how e-cigarette vapour affected the DNA of mice, and human cells in a dish.

They didn’t look at how it affected people. And they didn’t directly compare it to smoking.

The researchers focused on how components of e-cig vapour damage cells’ DNA. And DNA damage increases the risk of cancer.

But they didn’t look directly at whether e-cigs caused cancer, either in mice or in people.

What did the study show?

They found that e-cig vapour raised levels of DNA damage in the lungs, bladders and hearts of mice.

They also found that the molecular machinery cells use to repair this DNA damage was less effective in the lungs of mice exposed to e-cig vapour.

Then they looked at how nicotine, the chemical that e-cigs vaporise, affects human lung and bladder cells grown in a lab dish. Nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive, but isn’t what causes the damage from smoking. Both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes contain nicotine, but e-cigs have much lower levels of the harmful components of tobacco smoke.

The researchers found that nicotine damages the DNA inside those lab-grown human lung and bladder cells. And they found that these cells were less able to repair this damage. These cells were then more susceptible to further genetic faults that could give them properties like those of cancer cells.
What do the results mean?

The researchers described their results with an interesting line:

“It is therefore possible that e-cigarette smoke may contribute to lung and bladder cancer, as well as heart disease, in humans.”

While this is technically possible, the study didn’t look at humans, and so didn’t show any effect on the health of humans.

Different e-cigs devices deliver different amounts of vapour, and people use them in different ways. So the levels of e-cig vapour and nicotine used in the study might not match the levels that people are exposed to through normal use.

And other research didn’t show a link between nicotine products and cancer.

Finally and crucially, the study didn’t compare vaping to tobacco smoke.

What now?

The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.

And for some people they’re a helpful aide to stop smoking.

Up to two-thirds of long term smokers will die because of their addiction. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, which is the biggest cause of preventable death worldwide.

Read full piece from CRUK here – http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2018/01/30/headlines-saying-vaping-might-cause-cancer-are-wildly-misleading/