E-cigarettes may not be the right remedy.
Clearly anything that helps people to give up smoking has got to be good. Or has it? There is a lot of controversy surrounding E-cigarettes and new research published this month is about to create even more.
E-cigs are electronic cigarettes that liberate a dose of nicotine in an electronic vapour. Manufacturers highlight benefits such as the fact that they look, taste and feel just like smoking. Clearly they are healthier because there is no tar, tobacco, carbon monoxide, or any of the other chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. There is also a huge cost benefit as they are much cheaper.
Designed as an aid to quit smoking, the E-cig has taken off and in fact statistics show that young people think they are cool and so far there is no evidence that they help people to give up smoking and there are even claims that the 'cool' factor is encouraging young non smokers to take up the E-cig.
New research published in the Clinical Cancer Research Journal has raised questions about whether they are healthier or not. Smoking is known to cause mutations in lung cells and this leads to changes in gene expression that can be measured. A research team at Boston University took samples of bronchial cells and subjected one test sample to traditional 'smoke' and the other to the vapour of E-cigarettes. Results showed that the e-cigs caused similar (but not identical) changes in gene expression to the traditional smoke.
Admittedly the tests were done in test tubes but as we all know there's no smoke without fire.