Smoking No More Harmful Than Vaping Says Kentucky Cancer Center
In a recent address to the Kentucky General Assembly’s Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee, Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers of the University of Kentucky testified that electronic cigarettes are just as dangerous as their tobacco counterparts.
The statement was made in response to Senator Robin Webb’s (D-Kentucky) inquiry about the safety of e cigs, as some of the jails in the area are selling them to their inmates. She wanted to ensure that the chemicals in the e cigs were not having a negative impact on the health of the inmates using them.
Misinformed & Misspeaking on the Safety of E Cigs
During his testimony, Dr. Evers commented multiple times on a lack of valid research regarding e cigs, stating once that the limited research that has been conducted “has shown that e cigarettes are quite harmful.”
Even though e cigs are still a fairly new product, there is a surprisingly ample amount of clinical research available. As with studies concerning any innovative product, results vary across the board, calling upon the positive and negative experiences of thousands of research volunteers.
The overwhelming majority of these studies do not provide a definitive conclusion in either direction, safe or unsafe, making the claims by Dr. Evers entirely unsubstantiated.
Study says: Smoking Impacts Cardiac Function… Vaping Doesn’t
A 2012 study conducted in Greece found that “vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking,” according to Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Kallithea. The results of his study were focused on the effect of electronic cigarette use on myocardial function.
Farsalinos and his colleagues discovered that smoking even a single tobacco cigarette led to “acute impairment of left ventricular function.” Substantial elevations in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed, as well an immediate increase in heart rate.
Conversely, the study participants in the e cig group experienced no adverse effects to the myocardial system whatsoever. Because the nicotine in the e cig was absorbed at a lower rate compared to a tobacco cigarette, only a very slight increase in diastolic blood pressure was noted.
In addition, an exam using echocardiography to view the heart’s ventricular system showed that the left ventricle (the portion that receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and sends it coursing through the body) was severely affected by the smoke of one cigarette. The study noted that the electronic cigarette, on the other hand, made zero impact on the left ventricle.
Getting the Facts Straight
It would seem, in the light of this study and others similar to it in nature, that perhaps the ardent testimony presented by Dr. Mark Evers to the Kentucky state legislature was just a tad unsound.
Unfortunately, Dr. Evers and Senator Webb aren’t the only high-profile figures pointing uninformed fingers at electronic cigarettes. Plenty of others are forging the same path, claiming that an immense lack of research translates directly to inaccurate statements.
There are, however, intellectual authority figures that take the time to delve into the truth behind all of the hype, relying on actual evidence provided by clinical research.
Here’s a brief selection from an article by Dr. Michael Siegel and Zachary Cahn in the Palgrave Macmillan Journal of Public Health Policy:
“Although the existing research does not warrant a conclusion that electronic cigarettes are safe in absolute terms and further clinical studies are needed to comprehensively assess the safety of electronic cigarettes, a preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.”
It doesn’t take any specialized Google skills to find a plethora of information on electronic cigarette trials from reputable sources; the information is out there and is readily available for those who are interested in learning the facts.
Let us know how you feel regarding the claims being made about e-cigarettes in our comment section below or start a conversation about it in our online forum!
1. Boston University School of Public Health - sph.bu.edu/index.php?option=com_insidernews&categoryid=94§ionid=15&task=view&Itemid=617365&articleid=3366 2. European Society of Cardiology – Study Abstract - escardio.org/about/press/press-releases/esc12-munich/Pages/acute-effects-electronic-cigarettes-heart-damage.aspx 3. Journal of Public Health Policy - palgrave-journals.com/jphp/journal/v32/n1/full/jphp201041a.html
Author: Michael Murray