A unique study shows that non-smoking vapers experience no apparent long-term negative health effects from vaping. The study was presented at the E-Cigarette Summit in London (U.K.) on Nov. 17, and published in the journal Nature.
A team of researchers from the University of Catania (Italy) and the University of California-Los Angeles, led by Dr. Riccardo Polosa, followed a group of young vapers for 3.5 years who had never smoked, measuring coronary, circulatory, and pulmonary vital signs. They also followed a similar group who did not vape, and also had never smoked.
The scientists measured
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Body weight
- Lung function
- Respiratory symptoms
- Exhaled breath nitric oxide
- Exhaled carbon monoxide
- High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the lungs
They found that the vapers had no negative health outcomes, and in fact showed results that were virtually indistinguishable from those of the non-vapers. “It is reassuring to know that long term use with e-cigarettes is unlikely to cause any significant health concerns,” said Professor Polosa at a later presentation of his study in Sydney, Australia.
Daily exposure to ECs [e-cigarettes’] aerosol emissions caused no significant changes in any of the health outcomes investigated, including measures of lung function and lung inflammation. Moreover, no significant structural abnormalities could be identified on HRCT of the lungs and no respiratory symptoms were consistently reported. In spite of the small sample size and lack of comparison to smokers, careful examination of long-term health effects of EC use in a rare cohort of regular daily users who have never smoked in their life may contribute to the current understanding of the potential health risks associated with EC use.
The researchers measured a standard set of health indicators throughout the 3.5 year study. Even those in the study who vaped the most e-liquid daily and had vaped the longest showed no indication of damage to heart or lungs — not even changes in average heart rate or blood pressure. Young smokers show signs of lung damage after just two years of smoking.
Even though the study was limited in size, it is important because for the first time we can see the long-term effects of vaping (or the lack of them) in a group of users without a history of smoking. Previous studies have been limited either by their length or by the possible confounding effects of the subjects’ smoking history.
The study results are good news for vapers, but even better for smokers, many of whom have shied away from trying e-cigarettes because of the steady stream of cell studies and the inflammatory press releases and biased news stories that accompany them.
“If no negative health impacts can be seen from daily vaping among those who previously did not smoke, how is it ethical to continue warning smokers away from using these products?” asked American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley in a press release addressing the study.