Previous assumptions are going up in smoke.
We’ve been told time and again that all things nicotine are out to kill us. Recent research shows that isn’t always the case.
For the study published earlier this month, researchers at University College London set out to determine whether e-cigarettes are as harmful as regular ones. To do this, they looked for carcinogens in the saliva and urine of 181 people that regularly rely on different kinds of nicotine intake. This included people who smoke cigarettes, people who smoke cigarettes and vape, and a third group of people who used to smoke but now only vape.
The research team discovered that smokers who switched completely from smoking to vaping had significantly lower levels of carcinogens in their bodies. One chemical called NNAL that’s linked to lung cancer was 97.5 percent less prevalent in subjects who only used e-cigarettes.
“What we found is that using e-cigarettes alone results in very low exposure to toxins and carcinogens,” Shahab tells The New Scientist.
But that’s not all. The study, which was published in the academic journal Annals of Internal Medicine, also found that people who both smoke and vape have similar carcinogen levels as people who only smoke. In other words, if you’re the kind of person that thinks vaping some of the time is helping — your health is still at risk.
If that isn’t enough to get you to give up the cancer sticks, consider this: Switching to vaping doesn’t mean you’ll stop getting your nicotine fix. “Our results also suggest that while e-cigarettes are not only safer, the amount of nicotine they provide is not noticeably different to conventional cigarettes,” said Lion Shahab, the lead author of the study.
So, if you want to follow nicotine’s sweet siren without all the chemo — make the switch to vaping. It sure beats quitting cold turkey.
University College London conducted the study on behalf of Cancer Research UK, a charity organization.