Can Electronic Cigarettes Save Lives?
Scientists have said that it is possible that electronic cigarettes could save millions of lives. Every year there is an estimated 5 million deaths that are attributed to smoking related causes. Researchers say that this could be lowered with the use of electronic cigarettes. Of course, there are also other groups that still lobby that the use of electronic cigarettes could normalize smoking to a point where it is no longer healthy.
The stand taken by researchers is based on the fact that there are generally fewer chemicals used in electronic cigarettes than traditional tobacco based cigarettes. At the 2013 E-Cigarette Summit in London, Robert West a professor of health psychology at the University College London, stated that these devices could save some lives, but that steps had to be taken to achieve this goal. One of the steps that were put forward is the regulation of the devices and their manufacturing. He added that this was a hope that people could have, but should not be seen as a current reality.
The call for regulation of electronic cigarettes is not something new and there are many reasons why people want the industry to be regulated. Some who call for this want regulations to ensure that the creation of the devices maintains the health benefits. Others want regulation to ensure that the devices are not used in certain areas or by young people.
A professor from the University Hospital Gathuisberg in Belgium states that regulations are needed because many manufacturers are not performing the necessary tests on their devices. They are hiding behind the lack of regulation to quickly put out the devices without ensuring that they are completely safe.
There are many people who worry about the overall health benefits of electronic cigarettes, particularly long-term. The problem is that not very many tests and trials have been conducted regarding this. One of the problems that researchers have faced with looking at the long-term effects is finding a study group. To do this, researchers will need to follow a group of electronic cigarette users for a number of years. The problem here is that many people look at the use of electronic cigarettes to stop smoking and this decreases the groups of users.
However, studies have been done using rats to determine the long-term effects of nicotine inhalation. A study done in 1996 showed that after 2 years the rats were still healthy and did not see any negative side effects. This offers many people hope that there will not be many negative side effects to the use of electronic cigarettes.
Even with this information there are concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes. The World Health Organization says that the potential risks of the devices are undetermined and warns that people should not be using them. Of course, there are others who feel that the potential health benefits that users can get from these devices, when compared to traditional cigarettes, are too good to be overlooked. When looking at electronic cigarettes it is best to do research into the manufacturing process to ensure that excess chemicals are not being added to the mixture.