Are electronic cigarettes really safe?

The emergence of electronic cigarettes was a safe alternative to smoking, and many of the health-conscious smokers turned to them to minimize the consequences of the harmful habit. Only a few years later, it is clear – there is no safe smoking, whether we hold a simple or electronic cigarette.

To confirm this, two days ago, a group of American scientists published the results of a 5-year study in Tobacco Control. It is devoted to calculating the health benefits of smokers when replacing standard cigarettes with electronic cigarettes. Looking for potential benefits, however, the researchers found that it is much more important to keep much of the damage from cigarettes, even if they are of an electronic type.

Using two mathematical models, scientists present the results of their study in two forms, marked respectively as optimistic and pessimistic. In both cases, consumers are assumed to replace the tobacco product with an electronic cigarette. Thus the difference in results could be attributed only to the difference between the consequences of using the two different types of cigarettes. It turns out that there is a difference in safety, but it is much smaller than expected.

According to the optimistic version, which considers that electronic cigarettes totally offset tobacco damages, deaths in the US from tobacco smoke associated diseases will decrease by about 7 million. This would be the effect if within 10 years smokers make a full transition to electronic cigarettes.

However, a thorough study of the effect of smoking electronic cigarettes indicates that they also pose serious health risks. Though weaker than standard cigarettes, these risks are a fact.