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UKVIA response to University College London study on vaping

The UK Vaping Industry Association says it welcomes the research looking the health impact of vaping so that the relative risks of vaping and smoking can be better understood

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The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) says it welcomes the research looking the health impact of vaping so that the relative risks of vaping and smoking can be better understood. The trade body says that although one leading academic described the study data as ‘crude’, implying a link to changes in cheek cells which could potentially cause cancer, the study authors said their findings did not prove that e-cigarettes caused cancer.

UKVIA says, “What we do know is that smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer, is the biggest cause of cancer in the world and is responsible for 250 deaths in the UK every day.

“The study authors said their findings showed that vapes ‘might not be as harmless as originally thought’ but it is important to make clear that nobody in the vape industry ever said that vaping was harmless. There are risks from vaping but they are tiny compared to smoking.”

The leading trade organisation in the UK says that Public Health England (now the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities) “was confident” when it said vaping was ‘at least 95% less harmful than smoking’ in 2015.

Research produced by King’s College London, on which the evidence review was based, “continued to confirm the same relative risk over the next seven years as more and more data came in,” UKVIA adds.

The eighth and final report in the series, published in 2022 by the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, concluded that: “In the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking. Vaping is not risk-free, particularly for people who have never smoked.”

UKVIA continues: “The same report concluded that there was ‘significantly lower exposure to harmful substances from vaping compared with smoking, as shown by biomarkers associated with the risk of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.’

“Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of Cancer Research, has always maintained there is ‘no good evidence’ that vaping causes cancer. It also says nicotine, the addictive chemical found in cigarettes and some vape products, does not cause cancer. Their response to this latest study also reinforces that it does not show that vapes cause cancer.

“The facts are clear – cigarette smoke contains thousands of distinct constituents, many of which are toxic or carcinogenic. It is these toxic by-products of combustion, not the nicotine, that are responsible for smoking-related death and disease.”

UKVIA states that vapes provide nicotine without burning tobacco, thereby reducing exposure to the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke by a significant level.

It is smoking that smokers and those that smoke and vape need to be extremely worried about when it comes to cancer. Smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer. That’s because cigarette smoke contains more than 5,000 chemicals – 70 of which we know cause cancer – and smoking is responsible for 7 in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK,” UKVIA continues.

The trade body says that this latest study has been questioned by leading experts such as Peter Shields, an emeritus professor of medical oncology at Ohio State University.

UKVIA says Shields believes that “critical pieces of information are missing and calls the smoking and vaping data that they are working from as ‘crude’.  He points to the fact that that there is no biochemical verification that the vapers are actually not also smokers. He concludes that ‘researchers are still a far distance from being able to show causality and the data looks like vapers are actually more like never smokers – implying their risk of cancer is not increasing by vaping’.”

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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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