By Barry Lord @bazneto
47 per cent of Americans believe e-cigarettes could pose the same risks to health as smoking.
According to a Reuthers/Ipsos survey, the U.S study found almost half of people believe the vapour emitted from the electronic device could pose the same risks to a person’s health as regular smoking.
The results show a 9% rise from a similar poll conducted last year.
A total of 9,766 adults took part in the poll carried out in April and May this year, and 10 percent admitted to “vaping”.
47% expressed concern over the health hazards vaping may pose, and questioned the belief held by many that this method is safer to users than tobacco cigarettes.
60% thought vaping could be addictive, compared with 61 percent last year.
Significantly, 49% said in 2016 that the impact of e-cigarette smoke could be compared to the second-hand smoke effect from regular cigarettes.
Sharra Morris, a 42-year-old who took part in the survey, expressed her reservations when speaking to Reuters: “The question now is: are they really safe? What will they tell us in 20 years?”
Still, there are those who will continue to support e-cigarettes, claiming vaping is safer than traditional smoking, because e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco.
It’s a debate that continues to divide scientific and medical opinion.
“There has been no scientific proof that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking, “said UK Professor Linda Bauld who wrote in the Guardian last December, after studying the majority of vaping research.
“Few things are risk free, and no one has claimed that e-cigarettes are. However, as an alternative to a uniquely deadly product that kills one in two of its regular users, who lose on average ten years of life, e-cigarettes are a far better alternative.”
Many scientists oppose the use of e-cigarettes and health officials at the American Lung Association have recently reported that the lack of regulation led to almost 7,700 flavours of e-cigarettes and nearly 500 different brands appearing on the market – and nobody knows exactly what’s in them.
According to the A.L.A. website. “Studies have found toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze and formaldehyde in e-cigarettes.”
Closer to home, Professor Luke Clancy, Director General of the Tobacco Free Research Institute, had his own take on the vaping debate and questioned the notion that e-cigarette smoking will ultimately replace traditional tobacco consumption.
“We don’t know that vaping will actually change smoking rates,” he told Ray Darcy on RTE Radio 1.
“Perhaps you can take something from the fact that the tobacco industry have bought up a lot of these cigarettes – the production, distribution and marketing.”
“Why not buy the nicotine replacement? Because they thought that might stop people from smoking and I’d say they are confident that e-cigarettes will not stop people from smoking and this will perpetuate the addiction and keeping cigarette smoking going.”