David Levy from Georgetown, lead researcher, from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center alongside his team, studied what happened to smokers who had quit tobacco for e-cigarettes over a 10-year period. The research took a number of factors into account, in addition to the age when smokers actually took up the habit. Findings from this study went on to reveal that switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes actually increased their lifespan.
Levy in a recent statement reckoned that findings demonstrated the idea that “a policy strategy that encourages replacing cigarette smoking with vaping to yield substantial life year gains.”
The study also put forward numerous reasons to support the extended lifespan. For instance, ditching tobacco for e-cigarettes may leave fewer smokers disabled, furthermore, it could also greatly reduce the number of toxins that they are exposed to.
Also, a professor of psychology at the KU Leuven University in Belgium – Dr. Frank Baeyens, who has conducted studies into the impact of e-cigarette use but was not directly linked with the study, expressed to Newsweek that even though he is happy with the results of the study, that it was very much expected. Baeyens further went on to opine that numerous scientific evidence that supports the fact that e-cigarettes are a better alternative to traditional cigarette already exist. However, the real challenge will lie in getting the public to make that all-important switch to e-cigarettes.
Baeyens also feels that the myth and rumors spread around about the hypothetical dangers associated with e-cigarettes may sway the public against it. “The image that electronic cigarettes have will define if this will translate to reality. Political climate and media climate are crucial to if this becomes reality or not,” Baeyens told Newsweek.
Owing to the fact that e-cigarettes are relatively new, the effect it has on the health, in the long run, are still largely unknown. A study released last month suggested that a single puff of a nicotine e-cigarette raised adrenaline levels and could be detrimental to the heart. Also, nicotine is still an ingredient in many e-cigarettes, which apart from being highly addictive, it has also been linked to brain damage in both young children exposed second-hand and unborn babies of women who indulge in nicotine products during pregnancy. Also, apart from nicotine, e-cigarette also contains other dangerous ingredients such as formaldehyde.
An associate professor at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Michael Ong, who was also not affiliated with the study was of the opinion that; “The study overall is a simulation study that projects potential benefits, such studies depend on assumptions made. If further studies show differences in the ability to transition successfully from cigarette smoking or show more harms related to vaping than are used in this study, the findings may differ.”
Similarly, Ong advice that smokers take advantage of counselling and FDA-approved medications to help them give up cigarettes rather than taking to e-cigarettes.
Even after taking health risks into consideration, Levy reckons that the Georgetown Lombardi study still ascertained that turning to e-cigarettes from tobacco could still significantly save lives. “Even the gloomiest analysis shows a significant gain in years of life if nicotine is obtained from vaping instead of a much deadlier amount of toxicants inhaled with cigarette smoke,” concluded Levy in his statement.