A replication study of an experiment on vaping vs smoking has demonstrated that vaping is far less toxic than tobacco cigarettes.
The study was overseen by the Center of Excellence for the acceleration of Harm Reduction of the University of Catania or CoEHAR and carried out by 5 separate university research teams. It was part of the “Replica Project” which looks to replicate previous studies conducted in the tobacco product industry in a high quality mannar.
A large reason for this replication study was that many of the studies done in this field have been conducted by the tobacco industry and would therefore constitute a conflict of interest. Since many of the studies have not been replicated or properly reviewed, the quality of the experiment and findings can be called into question. This study was aimed at making improvements in the research methodology, to try and bring a larger degree of reliability in the data and results.
In order to reduce bias and increase the reliability in the results, CoEHAR standardized or eliminated many of the variable factors in the original study. Some of the variables that were affected by this were nicotine levels, frequency of use, the analysis of the same cells in the throat, and participant history. Many previous findings used participants who were former smokers and would therefore have skewed health data in terms of their toxicity levels. The researchers decided to replicate the study using a method that is called “neutral red uptake”. Neutral red uptake is the standardized method used by the industry and is advised by the FDA and the European Commission in order to provide a toxicity profile update.
The largest factor in causing harm with tobacco related products are the combustible products rather than the nicotine itself. The combustible products in traditional cigarettes expose people to over 400 different toxic compounds such as free radicals, nitrates and carbonyls. Vaping nicotine rather than smoking a cigarette eliminates these compounds from the equation, leading to far less harm on the user.
Part of the problem with previous studies and data is that some of it has been misleading or made to look inconclusive. While there is little to no one who would argue that nicotine use or vaping products are risk free or harmless, the actual debate is whether it is more or less harmful than traditional smoking. Over five million people a year die because of tobacco-related products, a number that could potentially be reduced with less harmful alternatives. When polled, 90% of current smokers would switch to a less harmful product if they believed it to be safer. To quote CoEHAR Director Professor Giovanni Li Volti “If you are obese, your doctor will tell you to go on a diet. If you have high glycemia because you are diabetic, your doctor will give you insulin. If you are addicted to heroin, they might give you methadone – they switch you to a less harmful product. But if you smoke, they just tell you to quit smoking, like it’s very easy – but it’s not.”. It was found that only about 15% of people are able to just quit smoking, leaving 85% of people to potentially develop lung cancer or cardiovascular disease.
A criticism of previous data in this field is surrounding long term effects of vaping. In the past, it was argued that since vaping was still fairly new, no long term studies could be conducted and would therefore have inconclusive results. Vaping has now been around for over a decade, allowing long term studies to be carried out and investigated. In previous studies many of the subjects were previous smokers who had smoked for over 20 years, making it hard to determine if the toxicity was caused by their years of smoking or directly from vaping. We now have data from subjects who never smoked but have been exclusively vaping. This makes the data much more reliable since it will include much fewer variables.
The original study found that vaping was 95% less toxic than traditional smoking. The new study (using 5 separate measures in order to reduce variability) found that this was in fact true.
While it is still difficult to find research or articles in this area that is free from bias, the data within the studies and methodologies used can lend a large amount of credibility. It is always important to consider the source of funding, the organization conducting the study, as well as the quality of the actual experiment when reading about this topic. We at Canada Vapes strive to improve the lives of our customers and reduce the overall harm of smoking though our product offerings or with up to date scientific information. To once again quote Professor Giovanni Li Volti “Don’t forget there’s a huge percentage of people who are still smoking who would switch if they were correctly informed – so we have to reach those people. If we can, we have a 90% chance of reducing their chances of getting chronic diseases.”
Hopefully this post has been helpful in informing you about vaping vs smoking and in potentially making the transition away from cigarettes. A link to the study is included below should you wish to read further.
Full Report: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-03310-y