Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes could see young people start smoking while also helping adults quit, according to new research.
Published by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report was requested by US Congress and collated data from more than 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the health impacts of electronic cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorised as either beneficial or harmful,” said David Eaton, dean of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
“In some circumstances, such as their use by non-smoking adolescents and young adults, their adverse effects clearly warrant concern.
“In other cases, such as when adult smokers use them to quit smoking, they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness.”
Among findings, the report notes "conclusive evidence" that substituting e-cigarettes for conventional cigarettes "reduces users' exposure to many toxicants and carcinogens present in conventional cigarettes."
There was also “substantial evidence” showing the use of e-cigarettes instead of regular cigarettes "results in reduced short-term adverse health outcomes in several organ systems."
Calling for “more definite scientific data”, the report also found "no available evidence” on whether e-cigarette use "could be linked with cancer, although noting animal studies suggested long-term e-cigarette use "could increase the risk of cancer."