Two recently finished studies presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress present insights regarding the risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes, especially for the people who also smoke conventional cigarettes. One of the studies examined 122 of the most popular e-cigarette liquids in nine countries in Europe and established that all the samples tested contained at least one classified health risk substance.
The other study surveyed over 30,000 people in Sweden selected randomly from the general population and found that the use of e-cigarettes was most common in people who already smoke conventional cigarettes. The study found that the people who smoked both conventional as well as e-cigarettes experience more respiratory symptoms such as coughing up mucus, wheezing, and persistent cough. The detailed research on the symptoms seen in people who some conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes will be presented at the Umeå University in Sweden by Dr Linnea Hedman who is a behavioural scientist.
Of the people surveyed, nearly 11% said that they smoke only conventional cigarettes, while 0.6% people said that they only smoked e-cigarettes. 1.2% people from the survey said that they smoked both varieties. The results from the survey revealed that the use of e-cigarettes was more common in people who currently smoke conventional cigarettes, about 9.8%, as compared to former smoker, about 1.1% or non-smoker, about 0.6%.
The study also revealed that the people who smoked both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes were most likely to show respiratory symptoms. Of the non-smokers using e-cigarettes analyzed in the study, 26% had some respiratory symptoms, 34% of those only smoking e-cigarettes had respiratory symptoms, 46% of those who only smoked conventional cigarettes had respiratory issues, and nearly 56% of the ones using both varieties had respiratory symptoms. While more research is necessary to understand whether the use of e-cigarettes helps in smoking cessation or leads to an increased burden of respiratory conditions, these studies add to the evidence that e-cigarettes cannot be marketed as of yet as a safer substitute to conventional cigarettes.