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Vapecon Switzerland 2018

Looking back at the Vapecon Switzerland 2018 conference to hear from experts about vaping

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With the lies that inspired the vote to ban flavoured liquids in San Francisco still ringing in our ears, we turn back the clock slightly to hear from actual experts. Professors Riccardo Polosa, Reto Auer and Konstantinos Farsalinos spoke at the Vapecon Switzerland 2018 conference about the actual health effects of vaping.

Riccardo Polosa is a leading advocate of harm reduction products, especially vape technology, and director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology of the University of Catania in Italy. Reto Auer is an assistant professor at the Universität Bern, Switzerland, with expertise in Internal Medicine. Finally, Konstantinos Farsalinos is very well known to vapers and the harm reduction community, and is a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery in Greece.

Answering - What is the effect on lung health if a vaper is inhaling vape every day in place of smoke.

“Quite simply, it is very difficult to give a definitive answer to this question. The reason for that is that there is so much previous smoking history. There is so much accumulation of previous damage from exposure to tobacco smoke – it is difficult to dissect out the health effects that are going to be monitored in future after taking up vaping.”

He went on to explain that even if there were effects after taking up vaping they would not be that problematic. Polosa highlighted that there is a vast difference in the toxicological make-up of tobacco smoke compared with vape. There are 50-80 carcinogens in tobacco smoke, and cause damage as a direct result of smoking in addition to cancer of the lung.

What happens to smokers with asthma switching to vaping: “73% of people have improvement in their asthma symptoms.” - Polosa

Polosa concluded his presentation by mentioning: “Is it safe? I believe so. They are much less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Ecigs are unlikely to raise significant health concerns for the respiratory tract under normal conditions of use.”

Konstantinos Farsalinos spoke about the problems we see in ecigarette research on an almost weekly basis. He spoke about the issues involved where mistakes are being repeated, but highlighted that (as the volume of research grows) the general methodology is improving over time.

“Most researchers have never seen an ecigarette in their lives – and that’s a problem.” – Farsalinos

He split the research conducted into three areas: Chemistry, Toxicology, and Clinical. On of the basic issues for toxicological research is that the dose makes the poison, “it depends on the amount of the exposure. Saying ‘we found formaldehyde or acetaldehyde in an ecigarette’ means nothing. What everyone should report is how much of this chemical has been found – and what does this amount mean for health risk.”

This is more than an issue for researchers, according to Farsalinos, because it leads to ridiculous headlines in national newspapers. He referred to the Goniewicz study from 2013, which found formaldehyde in vape was up to 400 times less than that found in tobacco smoke. In 2014, the same team found increased levels at higher wattages – but that ignores total intake.

By 2015, a study reported that aldehyde emissions were higher than that found in cigarette smoke. It was a nonsense claim resulting from the use of outmoded technology, according to the professor. Pointing at a CE4 picture, Farsalinos added that most newer vapers wouldn’t even recognise it as it was almost invisible from sale after 2013. “The authors just blindly tested this atomiser at 5 volts, 12 watts, which is an extreme power setting for this atomiser. They didn’t mention, or understand, what a ‘dry puff’ or a ‘dry hit’ is,” he said, adding that he hoped they do now.

The full presentations can be watched in full in the video below:

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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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