Whenever I tell anyone I research e-cigarettes, they almost always have a viewpoint about them. Some will be vapers themselves, and people who are will almost without fail sing the praises of the device that finally helped them stop 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 specific fear is that young adults will experiment with e-cigarettes and that this will be a gateway in to smoking, in addition to fears around the harms from e-cigarettes themselves.
A recently available detailed study of more than 60,000 UK 11-16 year olds found that young adults who experiment with e-cigarettes are generally those who already smoke cigarettes, and even then experimentation mostly doesn’t translate to regular use. Not only that, but smoking rates among young adults in the united kingdom are still declining. Studies conducted up to now investigating the gateway hypothesis that vaping leads to smoking have tended to look at whether having ever tried an electronic cigarette predicts later smoking. But young people who test out e-cigarettes will be distinctive from those that don’t in lots of different ways – maybe they’re just more keen to consider risks, which will also increase the likelihood that they’d try out cigarettes too, regardless of whether they’d used e-cigarettes.
Although you can find a small minority of younger people that do begin to use e-cigarettes without previously becoming a smoker, as yet there’s little evidence that this then increases the chance of them becoming E Cigarette Reviews. Increase this reports from Public Health England who have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you might think that might be the end from the fear surrounding them.
But e-cigarettes have really divided the public health community, with researchers who have the common purpose of lowering the amounts of smoking and smoking-related harm suddenly finding themselves on opposite sides from the debate. This is concerning, and partly because in a relative dearth of research on the devices the same findings are employed by either side to back up and criticise e-cigarettes. And all of this disagreement is playing in the media, meaning an unclear picture of what 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 point in switching, as e-cigarettes may be just like harmful as smoking.
An unexpected consequence of this could be that it makes it harder to accomplish the very research needed to elucidate longer-term outcomes of e-cigarettes. Which is one thing we’re experiencing as we try and recruit for your current study. Our company is performing 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 demonstrated that smokers possess a distinct methylation profile, when compared with non-smokers, and it’s likely that these changes in methylation could be connected to the increased chance of harm from smoking – for instance cancer risk. Whether or not the methylation changes don’t make the increased risk, they might be a marker of it. We want to compare the patterns observed in smokers and non-smokers with those of electronic cigarette users, potentially giving us some insight in the long term impact of vaping, while not having to wait for time and energy to elapse. Methylation changes happen relatively quickly than the start of chronic illnesses.
Part of the difficulty with this is the fact that we know that smokers and ex-smokers use a distinct methylation pattern, and we don’t want this clouding any pattern from vaping, which means we must recruit vapers who’ve never (or certainly only rarely) smoked. And this is proving challenging for two reasons. Firstly, as borne out through the recent research, it’s unusual for folks who’ve never smoked cigarettes to consider up regular vaping. Yes, maybe they’ll experiment, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to an electronic cigarette habit.
But on top of that, an unexpected problem has become the unwillingness of some inside the vaping community to assist us recruit. And they’re postpone due to fears that whatever we find, the outcomes will be employed to paint a negative picture of vaping, and vapers, by individuals with an agenda to push. I don’t desire to downplay the extreme helpfulness of a lot of kbajyo inside the vaping community in helping us to recruit – thanks a lot, you understand who you really are. Having Said That I really was disheartened to learn that for many, the misinformation and scaremongering around vaping has reached the point where they’re opting out from the research entirely. And after speaking to people directly relating to this, it’s difficult to criticize their reasoning. We have now also found that several electronic cigarette retailers were resistant against putting up posters hoping to recruit people who’d never smoked, as they didn’t desire to be seen to be promoting e-cigarette use in people who’d never smoked, which can be again completely understandable and should be applauded.
Exactly what can perform about this? Hopefully as increasing numbers of research is conducted, and that we get clearer information on e-cigarettes capacity to act as a quitting smoking tool, the disagreement around them will disappear. For the time being, Hopefully vapers carry on and agree to participate in research therefore we can fully explore the potential of these units, specifically those rare “unicorns” who vape but have never smoked, as they may be essential to helping us understand the impact of vaping, in comparison with smoking.