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Health Information Week: Healthy Lifestyles

It’s Health Information Week, a multi-sector national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality health information to support healthy living and managing illness. Open Access advocates have long maintained that free access to academic literature has real societal benefits, and this is perhaps best evidenced by the way in which open access to medical and health literature can improve the lives of those trying to find out more about their own illnesses or of the ones they love.

In this post we are highlighting an article that compares vaporisers and e-cigarettes with tobacco. This paper received a lot of public attention on social networks and blogs, and it was also picked up by Public Health England in the Government’s 2018 report on e-cigarettes/vaping devices

“Optimal combinations of device settings, liquid formulation and vaping behaviour normally result in e-cigarette emissions with much less carcinogenic potency than tobacco smoke, notwithstanding there are circumstances in which the cancer risks of e-cigarette emissions can escalate, sometimes substantially” (Stephens, 2017)

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In the article, William Stephens compares the carcinogens found in vaporiser emissions and traditional cigarette smoke. The paper also considers ‘heat not burn’ devices for tobacco, and nicotine inhalers. The article discusses the difficulties of modelling vaporiser health risks due to the variety of technologies used in the devices and the fact that voltages can be inconsistent, but does however make a number of conclusions from the findings: 

“[S]ome EC [e-cigarette] emissions tended towards much higher cancer potencies and risks, a few possibly approaching those of tobacco smoke.[…] It is likely that third-fourth-generation EC devices with adjustable coil power are implicated in these higher risks.” (Stephens, 2017)

The report also suggests that a greater understanding of the likely cause of these variable carcinogenic emissions needs to be attained in order to inform future designs of e-cigarettes. The report also states that more research is needed into the effects of second-hand vaporiser inhalation, to inform decisions about whether to ban vaporisers in enclosed public spaces for instance.

The full article can be read on the St Andrews Research Repository – http://hdl.handle.net/10023/11421
It can also be read for free from the publisher –  https://doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053808

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