This year began on a positive stride for vaping and vaping advocates. Canadian research concluded favorable results in a review entitled Clearing the Air. This effort was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and was conducted by a number of credible professionals at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
Canada has always been a proponent of progressive study of the vaping industry and its potential health benefits. They have taken an evidence based approach in determining the effects of vaping on us and our youth, unlike our US FDA counterparts. Their studies are unbiased and founded on objectivity and scientific query. Clearing the Air based their studies primarily on three topics. These topics included the potential of smoking cessation, use by minors, and risk of second hand exposure.
In regards to smoking cessation, they were unable to establish a definitive conclusion on just how effective vaping is. Although, they did find encouraging evidence of smokers quitting. According to the review, “many researchers found an appreciable number of vapour device users are quitting tobacco.” Furthermore, this seems to be even more evident with the influx of new, more advanced devices. Even though they do not take a firm stance on vaping’s effectiveness for cessation, they do state, “it is clear that claims for a negative impact on cessation are unjustified.” This is a strong statement that contradicts the tactics used by FDA.
Next, they discussed the concern that vaping would lead to tobacco use by minors. This concern is simply not based in fact, yet it has been the FDA’s publicity machine since the deeming regulations were enacted. The study found that tobacco use in the US, Canada, and other countries has steeply declined for 12-19 year old citizens. The staggering fact is that this decline continues as vaping increases. They surveyed tobacco use rates in US states that both had and did not have bans on sales to minors. They found that there was a lower tobacco use rate in states where adolescents had access to vapor devices They also established compelling evidence that discredits “gateway effect” claims. According to the review, “23-72% of teens have reported consuming non-nicotine liquid.” Therefore, these teens are not consuming any nicotine and the chance of converting to nicotine containing, combustible cigarettes, is highly unlikely.
Finally, they covered potential risks from second hand exposure from vaping. These studies found that there is a measurable amount of nicotine that is absorbed by people inhaling vapor secondhand. There was insufficient data on secondhand nicotine absorption to deduct a definitive conclusion on this subject. Although, they did state, “tests determined that second hand vapour is far less toxic than cigarette smoke, often by several orders of magnitude, and that it does not contain carbon monoxide or volatile organic compounds.” In further inspection of these emissions they found that of the 79 toxins in a conventional cigarette, there was no trace of at least 61 of these in any e-liquid tested. They proceed to say, “Vaping produced exponentially lower levels of cancer causing agents, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and volatile organic compounds.”
This study will not likely change the overall view of vaping for the common public, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Canada has already announced a major revision to its tobacco regulation proposal as it pertains to vaping. As more science comes to light, there will be less for the regulatory authorities to slither around. We can only hope that more scientists will be intrigued to inquire into our industry. We have a sneaking suspicion that they will find a much healthier option, and one that could eradicate the public health problem smoking has caused.