No Exact Science With e-Cigarettes – Over the last few weeks we have seen a number of reports and research notes released regarding electronic cigarettes and vaping in general. While the vast majority of these have been very positive for the industry there have been some which have highlighted potential carcinogenic elements in the vapour created by electronic cigarettes and modern-day vaping devices. There will be many people looking towards electronic cigarettes who are utterly confused about the situation, how can scientists have such a very different opinion on the matter? Truth is, there is no exact science with e-cigarettes. There just isn’t.

The simple fact is that there is no exact science for any research or any test whatever the product.

E-Cigarettes – The Science

 Who should we believe?

When a recent scientific research note suggested there were potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde in electronic cigarette vapour this certainly grabbed the headlines. However, when you look a little further down the report into this research you will see reference to high voltage vaping systems which are certainly not standard issue across the sector. Indeed the research note itself also says there is no clear evidence to suggest that this particular chemical, present in tobacco cigarette smoke, is the trigger for any health-related issues.

The reality of the situation is that long-term research programmes into potential health implications are still required and while many are ongoing at the moment it could take years to conclude this particular stage of development. At this moment in time the vast majority of research notes give strength to the belief that electronic cigarettes are at worst less harmful than their tobacco counterparts with some suggesting they could be up to 90% less harmful.

Are some parties looking to muddy the water?

It is perhaps a little ironic that we have an array of more positive research notes supporting the use of electronic cigarettes which very often go unnoticed by the worldwide press. Then, sporadically, a number of negative research notes are released and given full blown coverage across the globe. Indeed there is evidence to suggest that in recent times some of the more negative research notes have been publicised using selective passages from the wider report.

We all know that there are parties who have a vested interest in reducing the perceived benefits of electronic cigarettes in the eyes of the wider public. We all know that politicians and regulators are looking to control the sector whether this is by stealth taxation or a Draconian regulatory structure. Many people also forget that we are fully aware of the elements associated with electronic cigarette ingredients and vapour and these are already present in the modern day food chain. The same cannot be said of the thousands of chemicals associated with the modern-day tobacco cigarette with some scientists suggesting we have yet to identify all of the chemicals created.


It would be interesting to see all of the recent reports into electronic cigarettes listed side-by-side with a summary of their conclusions. While initially, when the industry was in its relative infancy, it was overrun by negative comments and negative research we are now seeing a more balanced approach. However, as if to perfectly illustrate the fact that there is no such thing as an exact science, researchers and scientists often have very different opinions on what the public deem to be simple comparisons. Time for another debate?

Remember; There is no exact science with e-cigarettes, no matter what others try to tell you.

Mark Benson

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