The electronic cigarette appeared in the years 2000, offering smokers an alternative which was presented as less harmful, despite possibly containing nicotine.
A recent study, which was published in the Tobacco Control review, led by Doctor William E. Stephens and his team from the University St Andrews, has focused on the risk of developing lung cancer, depending on the nicotine product that was used. Among those products: tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes, heat sticks and nicotine inhalers.
In order to carry out their work, the searchers looked at the emissions of these different products. To compare the risk between the different devices, they used a measuring device called « inhalation unit risk », which is the risk of developing cancer per unit of chemical inhaled. Besides, they also took into account the daily use of the people surveyed and converted it into inhalation units. For example 15 cigarettes smoked a day is 30 liters of vapor of electronic cigarettes, namely 375 inhalation units.
The results are quite indisputable for tobacco, which is considered as the one presenting the higher risk of developing a cancer. In second place, as far as risks are concerned, we find the heat sticks, which used heated tobacco instead of burnt.
As for e-cigarettes, they have cancer potencies that are less than 1 percent of cigarette smoke. This means that cancer risks are 250 times less important with e-cigarettes than with smoking. As for nicotine inhalers, they appear as the less harmful device of the pannel.
Electronic cigarettes are clearly an alternative to tobacco that would therefore enable to avoid developing carcinogenic cells after a long-term use all the while allowing to reduce nicotine addiction. Studies to come will most probably confirm those compelling results.