E-cigarette use reduces exposure to harmful chemicals similar to smoking cessation

By @ritwikroy1985 on
E-cigarettes
Enthusiast Damien Hoops uses an electronic cigarette at The Vapor Spot vapor bar in Los Angeles, California March 4, 2014. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

New clinical study has shown that e-cigarettes may lead to significant reductions in exposure to harmful chemicals found in tobacco-cigarettes. This in turn helps in cutting the risks of tobacco-related illnesses that are thought to be caused by smoking real cigarettes. Smokers, who shift to smoking only e-cigarette, may find the effects quite similar to complete smoking cessation.

“We are committed to making a valuable contribution to the science around vaping. And these latest findings are encouraging in that they support the results of other third party studies, which conclude that e-cigarettes offer smokers a less harmful alternative to tobacco,” Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Marc Michelsen, said in a statement.

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The researchers measured changes in 15 biomarkers of exposure to harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs). According to the FDA, these are considerable contributors to smoking and tobacco-related disease risks, such as tobacco-specific nitrosamines, carbon monoxide and aldehydes in exhaled breath, blood and urine of 105 adult smokers during a five-day controlled trial.

Vice president of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Dr. Grant O’Connell, said that participants were divided into three groups. The first group abstained from tobacco and vaping entirely to provide the researchers a benchmark for the maximum achievable exposure reductions. The second group used only e-cigarettes, while the third used a combination of both vaping and smoking tobacco cigarettes.

“Encouragingly, in eight out of the nine urinary biomarkers we studied, the reductions in levels of HPHCs following exclusive use of e-cigarettes were almost indistinguishable from reductions in smokers who stopped altogether during the same time. The obvious exception was nicotine,” O’Connell said.

The study, published in the Journal of Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, revealed that the blood of both smokers who quit and e-cigarette users showed over 75 percent reductions in carbon monoxide levels. Moreover, both the groups saw over 80 percent reductions in levels of volatile organic compounds like 1-3-butadiene, benzene and acrolein.

Tobacco-specific nitrosamine levels saw a reduction of 62 to 93 percent in the e-cigarette group and 66 to 98 percent in the cessation group. Moreover, the group that smoked both tobacco cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes, researchers noticed “reductions in exposure to HPHCs that were broadly proportional to the reduction in number of cigarettes smoked.”

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