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Dentists Down In The Mouth About Vaping

Dentists in Northern Ireland remain cautious about patients vaping.

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Dentists in Northern Ireland have welcomed May 20th’s shift in emphasis for vaping legislation. While they support vaping for an approach to tobacco harm reduction, it is unfortunate that an element of misinformation creeps into advice given out to the public.

The Oral Health Foundation’s Nigel Carter said: “One of the biggest areas of concern regarding e-cigarettes remained that the industry operated without regulation. Given the sustained and rapid growth of the number of people switching to e-cigarettes, regulation was an absolute necessity and we’re delighted to see it finally being brought into force.”

“These measures should give consumers added confidence about what they are purchasing and will also hold manufacturers and suppliers to account. It is also important to control elements such as inappropriate advertising, misleading labelling and clear advice on correct usage, which these changes will now set out to do.”

“Many have found vaping highly effective in their bid to quit smoking but the long-term goal should be to do neither. There are many ecigarette users out there who have vaped for three, four, five-plus years. Given the links between gum disease and wider health problems, it is important that over time, you slowly attempt to come off both tobacco and e-cigarettes altogether.”

Dentist Lucy Stock took a similar opinion on vaping: “ The new ecigarette laws are good but long-term health effects remain a concern.”

Jonathan Bagley responded to Carter’s fears: “The industry never operated without regulation. It has been subject to many regulations; Inhaled nicotine is approved for long-term use by twelve year olds in the UK - in ‘medicinal’ nicotine inhalers; and propylene glycol has been in widespread use for decades as stage and disco "smoke". It has also been pumped into hospital air conditioning systems as a bactericide, and into the lungs of lung transplant patients.”

Vape advocate Alan Beard replied: “Doctor Carter repeats the usual unfounded propaganda. I do not propose to [list] the many links from dentists, oral hygienists, and researchers that would dispute his assertions linking vaping to gum disease. ASH now estimate 2.9-3 million now use the devices in the UK with over 1.5 million sole users, [the comments are] remarkably negative when discussing the most effective and pleasurable alternative to smoking available.”

Both the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England have declared vaping to be “at least 95% safer than smoking”. There have been no longitudinal studies looking at the effect of vaping on oral health, comments such as Carter’s relate to research looking at nicotine acting as a vasoconstrictor. The dental community deals largely in received opinion when it comes to vaping (inappropriately stretching their knowledge of the effects of smoking and nicotine gum) rather than carrying out fresh peer-reviewed studies. Vape contains less nicotine than smoke and is in contact with teeth for far less time than nicotine gum. It’s time for them to recognise the difference.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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