New Long-Term Study Shows Vaping Doesn’t Damage Lung Function
The 24-Month study observed “no serious adverse events” related to e-cigarette use
A brand new study is being published next month in the Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology Journal. The lead researcher was Tanvir Walele, Director of Scientific Affairs for Fontem Ventures, a division of Imperial Brands LLC, the makers of the Blu e-cigarette. Walele and his team were based out of the Research and Development Center in Liverpool, UK.
They set out to better understand the effects of vaping long term, and were primarily concerned with lung function, as it’s the most negatively affected system by smoking. The results of their two-year study are nothing short of incredibly encouraging for anyone wondering if making the switch to vaping is safe long term.
The researchers found 209 otherwise healthy smokers to take part in the study. Each participant was given a vaporizer device called Puritane, which the researchers called “representative of a typical closed system Electronic Vapor Product.” They were instructed to use it as their only vaporizer over the following 24 months. Alternatively, they did not have to agree to stop smoking traditional cigarettes to qualify, as long as they were vaping at least 80% of the time. This is because the researchers wanted to see how vaporizers function in the real world, where many people dual-use at first.
As a baseline before the test, each individual was screened and cleared of any abnormalities in their electrocardiogram test, vital signs, and spirometry. Some participants reported minor side effects at first, including a headache (28.7%), sore throat (19.6%), and cough (16.7%). But these issues mostly resolved themselves after only a few weeks on the product. After two months, the reported nicotine withdrawal symptoms dropped off significantly. But what’s much more encouraging is around the same time the number of traditional cigarettes smoked started to decrease among all participants, with many ultimately quitting.
After the 24-month study was complete, almost half of the original 209 participants had completed the full trial. Among those “completers” there were no signs of clinically significant adverse changes in biomarkers of hematology or lipid metabolism. The researchers noted, “the frequency of adverse events steadily decreased throughout the study.” Coupled with the lack of observed damage to lung function, the decreasing likelihood of AEs shows that vaping has a legitimate case for being a long-term smoking cessation tool.
Vaping As A Smoking Cessation Tool
While this study suggests that vaping is a useful harm reduction tool, other recent studies have begun to prove that e-cigarettes are a valuable smoking cessation tool as well. Late last year, researchers at the University of Louisville set out to understand which smoking cessation methods have the highest likelihood of being successful. Their research indicates that vaping has the best chance to help smokers kick the habit, even handily beating out prescription drugs like Chantix.
Another study from last year found that over half (52%) of daily vapers eventually quit smoking for good. The same survey found that only around 12% of participants who just vaped some days were successful in their quit attempt, showing the importance of committing to the switch. The joint effort by Columbia and Rutgers Universities concluded that e-cigarettes might have a significant role to play in getting and keeping smokers off cigarettes.
It’s worth noting that this research was funded by a vaping company, and therefore could possibly be subject to bias. But to be published in a well known and respected peer-reviewed journal such as Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, the science must make sense and be valid. Furthermore, none of their results are vastly different than what many completely unbiased researchers have reported in recent years.
If you’re willing to look past the potential bias, you’ll find another substantial piece of research that supports the belief that vaping is much safer than smoking. Public Health England, the federal health organization for England, released a report almost three years ago that claimed vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Since then many studies have reached a similar understanding of the relative risk of vaping vs. smoking.
But more importantly is that we have more long-term studies finally answering those who worry about the effects of consistently vaping over several years. These types of studies are incredibly critical now. The majority of media coverage of e-cigarettes is still negative, but solid long-term research is all that’s missing to make an ironclad case for vaping.
Have you experienced any adverse events due to switching to vaping? If so, what were they and how long did they persist? Do you think this study is valuable, even being funded by a vaping company? Let us know what you think in the comments.