London, 13 July 2016 – New peer-reviewed research published today shows that smokers who completely substitute conventional cigarettes with commercial e-cigarettes experience dramatic reductions in exposure to harmful chemicals that are thought to contribute to tobacco-related diseases, not that dissimilar to complete smoking cessation.
The clinical findings, reported in the Journal of Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, measured the changes in fifteen biomarkers of exposure to harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) – reported by FDA to be significant contributors to smoking-associated disease risks, including carbon monoxide, aldehydes, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines – in the urine, blood and exhaled breath of 105 adult smokers during a five-day controlled trial.
“To provide comparative information for this study, we split participants into three groups. Importantly, we requested the first group abstain from tobacco and vaping entirely to give us a benchmark for the maximum achievable exposure reductions. The second group used e-cigarettes exclusively and the third used both e-cigarettes and their usual brand of tobacco cigarettes,” explained Dr. Grant O’Connell, Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs. “Encouragingly, in eight out of the nine urinary biomarkers we studied, the reductions in levels of HPHCs following exclusive use of e-cigarettes were almost indistinguishable from reductions in smokers who stopped altogether during the same time. The obvious exception was nicotine.”
In the blood of both e-cigarette users and smokers who quit, levels of carbon monoxide were reduced by over 75 percent. Levels of volatile organic compounds such as acrolein, benzene and 1-3-butadiene were reduced by over 80 percent in both groups. Similarly, levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines were reduced by 66 to 98 percent in the cessation group, and 62 to 93 percent in the e-cigarette group.
“Interestingly, when it came to the dual use group who halved their self-reported daily cigarette consumption of tobacco cigarettes by using e-cigarettes, we also saw reductions in exposure to HPHCs that were broadly proportional to the reduction in number of cigarettes smoked,” said O’Connell. “The findings support earlier research conducted by Fontem Ventures which showed that e-cigarette vapour is over 95% less toxic than smoke from a cigarette, contains over 95% less HPHCs, and does not negatively impact indoor air quality, unlike conventional cigarette smoke.”
“We are committed to making a valuable contribution to the science around vaping,” said Marc Michelsen, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. “And these latest findings are encouraging in that they support the results of other third party studies, which conclude that e-cigarettes offer smokers a less harmful alternative to tobacco.”
Fontem Ventures is currently conducting – and will continue to conduct – further clinical and scientific research to understand whether or not reduced exposure to HPHCs translates into changes in some of the short-term health indicators associated with being harmful, or potentially harmful, to human health.
Changes in fifteen urine, blood, and exhaled breath BoEs of HPHCs representing classes of compounds reported by FDA to be significant contributors to smoking-associated disease risks were measured in 105 clinical-confined subjects following randomization and a five-day forced-switch from usual brand conventional combustible cigarettes to: (i) exclusive commercial e-cigarette use; (ii) dual-use of commercial e cigarettes and the subject’s usual cigarette brand; or (iii) discontinued use of all tobacco or nicotine products. Levels of urinary biomarkers in subjects that completely substituted their usual cigarette with e-cigarettes were significantly lower (29%-95%) after 5 days. Percent reductions in eight of nine urinary BoEs were indistinguishable to smokers who had quit smoking, except for nicotine equivalents, which declined by 25%-40%. Dual users who halved self-reported daily cigarette consumption with e-cigarettes exhibited reductions (7%-38%) in eight of nine urinary biomarkers, but had increases (1%-20%) in nicotine equivalents. Reductions were broadly proportional to the reduced numbers of cigarettes smoked. Dual user urinary nicotine equivalents were slightly higher, but not statistically significant. After 5 days, blood nicotine biomarker levels were lower in the cessation (75%-96%) and exclusive use groups (11%-83%); with dual users experiencing no significant reductions. All subjects experienced significant decreases in exhaled CO. Decreases in the cessation and exclusive groups ranged from 88%-89% and 27%-32% in dual users. Exhaled NO increased in the cessation and exclusive groups (46%-63% respectively), whereas the dual users experienced minimal changes. Overall, smokers who completely or partially substituted conventional cigarettes with e-cigarettes over five days, experienced reductions in HPHCs.