Unicorns Wanted

Posted 8th September 2020 by Dave Cross
Dr. Carl V. Philips and Professor Riccardo Polosa are conducting a new long-term study looking at the health effects of vaping, but they need “unicorns”. The pair are hunting for people who vape regularly but have (almost) never smoked before. Find out more below.

The pair say the study subjects they desperately need to help them in their work “are almost as rare as unicorns” and have issued a call to the vape community for support.

The project will be conducted under the medical direction of Professor Riccardo Polosa, a lung specialist and harm reduction advocate in Italy, and coordinated internationally by Dr. Carl V. Philips, an American epidemiologist. The long-term study will examine the health development of vapers over at least a 6-year period.

This project builds on work already conducted by Prof. Polosa in Italy, where he found there were no health implications for vapers. Linked below, the research found that in regular vapers who never smoked in their lives, they observed “no noticeable changes in lung function, states of airway inflammation or other significant health status abnormalities were found.”

Dr Philips said: “We know that vaping e-cigarettes is much less harmful than smoking combustible tobacco, but some people are concerned that there still might be a measurable health risks. While there is no clear evidence vaping is harmful at all, we have never looked closely enough to really know whether there is some small detectable risk.

“Vapers deserve to know if there is any risk so they can make an informed choice, and a study like this is the only way to discover those. Meanwhile, there are widespread claims that vaping causes substantial risks, which this study will help respond to those.”

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Norbert Schmidt, of ETHRA partner Interest Group E-Dampfen eV (IG-ED), added: "Experts often refer to the lack of long-term studies in order to avoid clear statements about currently known risks of vaping (none relevant). One would think that they seize the opportunity of this study and support it as best they can. The experts, who keep painting the horror picture of a ‘new generation of nicotine addicts’ on the wall, should be able to convey the study to a huge number of possible participants Only 150 candidates found worldwide. That should give food for thought."

UK-based unicorn vapers are not being enrolled at this present moment in time, but the VERITAS Cohort Study are collecting contact information and identifying potential study subjects.

You can submit your details covering smoking history, location, and vape habit on the VERITAS Cohort website [link].


  • Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked” by Polosa et al. – [link]
  • Are You A Potential Study Subject? – [link]

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by FABIANNE SIBBIO from Pixabay

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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