Inhaling vapor from electronic cigarettes is safer than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, according to a new research study out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
It’s one of the first studies to confirm that switching to e-cigarettes can reduce the risk of cancer for smokers, and researchers say it will bolster efforts at the local and national level to help smokers quit the habit.
That’s according to Maciej Goniewicz, lead author of the study and assistant professor of oncology in Roswell Park’s department of health behavior, whose work will be published in the journal Nicotine Tobacco Research.
While nicotine exposure remains the same, individuals who switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes saw the levels of specific carcinogens and toxins reduced significantly. The study also found that switching did not cause study participants to crave higher levels of nicotine.
“They are safer, less toxic,” he said. “It’s the first time we have very strong evidence that we will be able now to give (smokers) that the answer is, yes , this you should consider a transition, a substitute for your tobacco cigarette that will save your life.”
Researchers focused on transitioning existing smokers to e-cigarettes, recruiting 20 individuals who reported smoking an average of 16 cigarettes per day and who had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to quit using different medicines and smoking cessation methods.
“We focused on this transition because we thought and still think this is the potential transition that can have a huge impact on public health,” Goniewicz said.
The study is believed to be the first on smokers to demonstrate that substituting e-cigarettes for tobacco cigarettes may reduce exposure to toxins and carcinogens that can cause cancer. That’s an important finding for a cancer institute that focuses on reducing exposure and causes of cancer, he said. Roswell Park also holds the contract to run New York’s statewide smoker’s quitline.
“Toxins and carcinogens we measure in the body almost disappeared – the body cleared the 17 different chemicals we were looking for,” Goniewicz said.