Since its arrival, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the e-cigarette’s clear health benefits compared to traditional cigarettes. A report published in Public Health England (2015) is one such study. Co-written by Peter Hajek, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Research Unit for Tobacco Dependence at Queen Mary University in London, the study concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco.
Hajek also published a recent article with Johanna Astric Miler, a researcher at the Centre for Substance Abuse Research in Glasgow. The article suggests that there may even be potential health benefits for non-smokers who use e-cigarettes.
Hajek and Miler’s study tells the story of Laura, a young woman who has suffered from tonsillitis since she was a child—tonsillitis is a chronic inflammation of the tonsils. No doctor could find a solution. They could only wait for the infections to disappear on their own.
Laura had to face the reality that there was no treatment for her illness. She learned to live with her symptoms, which included swelling, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing in between infections.
Could vaping cure certain chronic illnesses?
Laura is a non-smoker, but her spouse uses an e-cigarette to curb his tobacco smoking habits. Taking his advice, Laura decided to try out the novel treatment. Almost immediately, her tonsillitis symptoms began to disappear. After 8 months of regular e-cigarette use, Laura has seen no recurrence of the disease.
Is there a causal effect?
Even if there is a clear link between vaping and improved health benefits (even for non-smokers) no study has yet been interested in confirming such claims. In Laura’s case, Miler and Hajek suppose that the improved respiratory symptoms might be linked to the glycol propylene found in the e-liquid. This substance has antimicrobial properties and might have affected the origin of Laura’s infections.
Was Laura’s case just a coincidence? Or could e-cigarettes be a form of treatment for tonsillitis and other respiratory afflictions? Only future medical studies can answer these questions.