The following webpage is a working compilation of relevant articles in relation to e-cigarettes and vaping products for consumers, parents and health professionals to become more informed. This page will be regularly updated.
E-cigarettes Advertising to Youth – what you may want to know from the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ acknowledges that we need to support smokers who want to quit, but also calls for the need to protect the wider community’s children and young people from taking up e-cigarettes and vaping in the first place. These articles highlight just some of the statistics coming out of USA where e-cigarettes and vaping products have been available for over 10 years.
e-cigarettes may contain nicotine, even when they state 0mg nicotine, which is highly addictive (Cheah NP, Chong NWL, Tan J, et al. Tob Control Published Online First: 30 November 2012 doi:10.1136/ tobaccocontrol-2012- 050483)
The average nicotine level in a traditional cigarettes is between 6.17 to 12.65 mg (Taghavi S, Khashyarmanesh Z, Moalemzadeh-Haghighi H, et al. Nicotine Content of Domestic Cigarettes, Imported Cigarettes and Pipe Tobacco in Iran. Addiction & Health. 2012;4(1-2):28-35) but some e-liquids available in New Zealand can have up to 24mg of nicotine.
Spending on e-cigarette advertising has increased rapidly since 2011.
Global Vapor Products Market Forecast 2018 - 2023: What the current market and is and it is expected to gross $43 Billion by 2023.
Are e-cigarettes really 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes?
The ‘e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than normal tobacco cigarettes’ claim came from an expert panel review. The Lancet (a highly reputable journal in the medical community) provides a simple overview of the study (Vol 386 August 29, 2015).
In summary here are a few points to consider about this study from the Lancet editorial:
There was a “lack of hard evidence for the harms of most products on most of the criteria”.
“There was no formal criterion for the recruitment of the experts”. In other words, the opinions of a small group of individuals with no prespecified expertise in tobacco control were based on an almost total absence of evidence of harm.
In order to make this claim, the study needs to rely on the highest quality evidence, which this study falls short on.
E-cigarette time bomb: Vaping is highly addictive and could cause a major health crisis in decades to come, warn lung experts
The potential dangers of nicotine inhalation during e-cigarette use are highlighted.
There has been an increase in e-cigarette usage in the USA in the past 5 years due to age restrictions on conventional cigarettes, aggressive marketing and a perception that e-cigs are a healthy alternative.
Widely used e-cigarette flavouring impairs lung function
The American Thoracic Society report that a new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavouring has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke. These chemicals disrupt an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defence system.
"E-cigarette emissions contain chemicals that have not been evaluated for inhalation toxicities," said Dr. Clapp. "The inhalation of flavouring agents, which are frequently reactive aldehydes, poses a significant unknown in regard to the potential health risks of e-cigarette use as many of these chemicals are structurally similar to toxic aldehydes in cigarette smoke. Moreover, aldehyde flavouring agents are often used in exceedingly high concentrations in e-cigarettes, which may lead to high exposure doses."
"The two principles of toxicology - 'The Dose Makes the Poison' and 'The Route of Exposure Affects Toxicity' - clearly apply here," added Dr. Jaspers, senior author of the study.
Mothers who vape during pregnancy may put babies at asthma risk
Talk to your mid wife or medical professional as soon as possible if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant and are a smoker or use e-cigarettes. There is some suggestion that e-cigarettes may be dangerous to the developing baby.
Here is one article from 2017 highlighting some of the possible dangers, although more research needs to be done in this area. It is a case of watch this space as more evidence evolves.
There is a discussion to be had with mothers about their personal circumstances and what may be the most appropriate way for them to keep themselves and their developing baby safe when it comes to smoking of any kind.
European Respiratory Society (ERS) position paper on heated tobacco products
In this statement, the ERS discuss the contradictions of the tobacco industry’s claims to heated tobacco products.
Heated tobacco products is a new nicotine delivery system that consist of a small tobacco stick which is heated rather than burned. The tobacco industry research claims a 90-95% reduction in harm compared to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes.
In summary here are a few points to consider from ERS
While the tobacco industry claims 90-95% reduction in harm, they have not disclosed the other harmful substances found in high concentration in their studies. Eg. particulate matter, tar, acetaldehyde (a carcinogen), acrylamide (a potential carcinogen) and an acrolein metabolite (toxic and irritant).
That even though heated tobacco products may perhaps be less harmful for smokers they nevertheless remain both harmful and highly addictive. ERS cannot recommend any product that is damaging to the lungs and human health.
There is no current evidence that heated tobacco products are efficient as a smoking cessation aid.
Heated tobacco products, regular tobacco smoking and smokeless tobacco for oral or nasal use are all addictive and carcinogenic to humans.