We’re all familiar with the role cigarettes play in causing cancer, which is why the usage of such products is frowned upon. However, cigarette usage is addictive and breaking free of the addiction is incredibly challenging. Many smokers manage to overcome their addiction by turning to e-cigarettes instead since these still offer a nicotine hit without the damaging effects of tobacco and tar. This method of overcoming, or reducing, a nicotine addiction is even supported by Cancer Research UK, who state that e-cigs ‘help people quit smoking‘.
E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, which is why learning how to regulate them is important to those institutions that focus on the health of the public. In a bid to find out more about the usage and effects of e-cigarettes, Cancer Research UK-funded scientists discovered that those individuals who swapped regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes for at least six months had significantly lower levels of toxic and cancer-causing substances in their body than those individuals who continued to use conventional cigarettes. The study also showed that a complete switchover was necessary, rather than continuing to smoke to a lesser degree while using e-cigarettes.
These findings indicate that the use of e-cigarettes in place of regular cigarettes means the user isn’t exposed to the chemicals and toxins that they would otherwise be exposed to, and which can lead to the development of certain strains of cancer. Obviously reducing the general public’s exposure to products that can lead to cancer is incredibly important, which is why this finding is so interesting.
Cancer Research UK has a balanced approach towards products such as e-cigarettes, citing their usefulness in helping people to quit smoking, which also goes a long way to reducing the risk of cancers associated with the use of tobacco products. Their stance towards e-cigarettes is that there should be sufficient regulation surrounding the distribution of vaping items, to make sure the idea of vaping is not presented as an attractive activity to children, and to stop them from being sold to children. The charity also states that they ‘do not believe there is enough evidence to justify an indoor ban on e-cigarettes.’
The fact that the charity’s findings discovered e-cigarettes to be an aid in the drop in toxins for users who transitioned from cigarettes is fantastic news. Cancer Research UK’s stance towards the use of e-cigarettes is that they are useful in harm reduction terms, which is a health policy that aims to reduce the harmful consequences without necessarily blocking the use of the items causing the harm. Though inhaling air is obviously healthier than vaping, vaping is a much healthier alternative than the dreaded smoking.
As Alyssa Best, a policy adviser at Cancer Research UK says, ‘The evidence is showing e-cigarettes can help beat the tobacco epidemic. And when they have the potential to save millions of lives, should we just sit back and wait?’