Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
A national panel of public health experts concluded in a report released on January 23 that vaping with e-cigarettes that contain nicotine can be addictive and that teenagers who use the devices may be at higher risk of smoking (Source: “Vaping Can Be Addictive and May Lure Teenagers to Smoking, Science Panel Concludes,” New York Times, January 23, 2018).
Whether teenage use of e-cigarettes leads to conventional smoking has been intensely debated in the United States and elsewhere. While the industry argues that vaping is not a steppingstone to conventional cigarettes or addiction, some antismoking advocates contend that young people become hooked on nicotine, and are enticed to use cancer-causing tobacco-based cigarettes over time.
The new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the most comprehensive analysis of existing research on e-cigarettes. The report also cited conclusive proof that the devices are safer than traditional smoking products and may help smokers quit, citing conclusive proof that switching can reduce smokers’ exposure to deadly tar, dangerous chemicals, and other carcinogens. But it stopped short of declaring that e-cigarettes are safe, noting there are no long-term scientific studies of the devices’ addictive potential or their effects on the heart, lungs, or on reproduction.