The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Tuesday released a report of the most comprehensive look to date on the possible benefits and dangers of vaping e-cigarettes.
The NAS report, which was commissioned to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with its regulations, looked at 800 peer-reviewed studies to find out the impact of e-cigarettes on public health.
Potential Harms And Benefits Of Vaping Depend On Person’s Age
The report concluded that e-cigarettes are far less harmful compared with conventional cigarettes. It also revealed that the potential harms and benefits of vaping may depend on a person’s age.
The device appears to help adults quit smoking but may lead young people to smoke conventional tobacco.
“When it got down to answering the questions about what the impacts on health are, there is still a lot to be learned,” said David Eaton, of the University of Washington, who led the committee that reviewed the studies and issued the report. “E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful.”
Potentially Beneficial For Adults Who Want To Quit Smoking
Among the most crucial questions about e-cigarettes is with regards to how they can help smokers quit smoking traditional cigarettes. The reviewers had limited evidence to answer this.
The three randomized controlled trials they looked at did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that vaping devices can help people quit smoking. The observational studies, however, offered more favorable results. In these studies, the reviewers found moderate evidence suggesting that using e-cigarettes frequently is linked to increased likelihood of smoking cessation.
Based on these evidences, the reviewers said the e-cigarettes may up the odds of smokers quitting the habit albeit there is still uncertainty to this conclusion.
E-cigarettes May Lure Kids To Start Smoking
Results of the reviewed studies suggest that vaping may prompt teenagers and young adults to try regular cigarettes. This may place young people at higher risk for addiction.
The authors of the report, however, were not able to establish a significant link between e-cigarettes and long- term smoking. It was not clear if young people just try to use e-cigarettes or they become habitual smokers. Nonetheless, the report noted that there is “substance evidence” that shows use of e-cigarettes in teens can increase their risk of tobacco use.
“The evidence base was large enough and consistent enough and strong enough to conclude that there’s an association between e-cigarette use and ever-use of combustible tobacco [cigarettes],” said committee member Adam Leventhal, from the University of Southern California.