Whenever I tell anyone I research e-cigarettes, they almost always have an opinion about them. Some will be vapers themselves, and those who are will almost without fail sing the praises of the device that finally helped them quit 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 younger people 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 newly released detailed study of more than 60,000 UK 11-16 year olds finds that young people who experiment with e-cigarettes are often people who already smoke cigarettes, as well as then experimentation mostly doesn’t translate to regular use. Not just that, but smoking rates among young adults throughout the uk are still declining. Studies conducted currently investigating the gateway hypothesis that vaping contributes to smoking have tended to check out whether having ever tried an electronic cigarette predicts later smoking. But younger people who try out e-cigarettes will probably be distinctive from those who don’t in a lot of alternative methods – maybe they’re just more keen to take risks, which would also raise the likelihood that they’d experiment with cigarettes too, regardless of whether they’d used e-cigarettes.
Although you will find a small minority of younger people who do start to use e-cigarettes without previously becoming a smoker, as yet there’s little evidence that the then increases the potential risk of them becoming E Cig Reviews. Increase this reports from Public Health England who have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you might think that would be the end from the fear surrounding them.
But e-cigarettes have really divided people health community, with researchers who have the most popular goal of decreasing the degrees of smoking and smoking-related harm suddenly finding themselves on opposite sides from the debate. This really is concerning, and partly because in a relative dearth of research on the devices the same findings are employed by either side to support and criticise e-cigarettes. And all of this disagreement is playing outside in the media, meaning an unclear picture of the items we realize (and don’t know) about e-cigarettes is being portrayed, with vapers feeling persecuted and people who have not yet tried to quit mistakenly believing that there’s no reason for switching, as e-cigarettes could be equally as harmful as smoking.
An unexpected results of this could be that it makes it harder to do the very research required to elucidate longer-term outcomes of e-cigarettes. And this is a thing we’re experiencing while we try and recruit for your current study. Our company is conducting 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 shown that smokers have a distinct methylation profile, in comparison to non-smokers, and it’s likely that these alterations in methylation may be connected to the increased risk of harm from smoking – for example cancer risk. Even if the methylation changes don’t result in the increased risk, they could be a marker of this. We want to compare the patterns observed in smokers and non-smokers with those of e-cigarette users, potentially giving us some insight in the long term impact of vaping, while not having to wait for time to elapse. Methylation changes happen relatively quickly when compared to the start of chronic illnesses.
Portion of the difficulty with this is the fact that we realize that smokers and ex-smokers have a distinct methylation pattern, and that we don’t want this clouding any pattern from vaping, which suggests we need to recruit vapers who’ve never (or certainly only very rarely) smoked. And also this is proving challenging for 2 reasons. Firstly, as borne out through the recent research, it’s rare for people who’ve never smoked cigarettes to adopt up regular vaping. Yes, maybe they’ll experiment, but that doesn’t necessarily cause an electronic cigarette habit.
But in addition to that, an unexpected problem has been the unwillingness of some within the vaping community to assist us recruit. And they’re delay as a result of fears that whatever we discover, the outcomes will be utilized to paint a poor picture of vaping, and vapers, by individuals with an agenda to push. I don’t wish to downplay the extreme helpfulness of plenty of kbajyo in the vaping community in assisting us to recruit – thank you, you understand what you are about. But I was really disheartened to learn that for a few, the misinformation and scaremongering around vaping has reached the point where they’re opting out from the research entirely. And after talking with people directly about this, it’s difficult to criticize their reasoning. We have also found that several electronic cigarette retailers were resistant against setting up posters aiming to recruit people who’d never smoked, since they didn’t wish to be seen to get promoting electronic cigarette utilization in people who’d never smoked, that is again completely understandable and should be applauded.
Exactly what can we do about this? Hopefully as more research is conducted, and we get clearer info on e-cigarettes capability to work as a smoking cessation tool, the disagreement around them will disappear. Until then, Hopefully vapers continue to agree to take part in research therefore we can fully explore the potential for these devices, particularly those rare “unicorns” who vape but have never smoked, as they could be crucial to helping us be aware of the impact of vaping, in comparison with smoking.