Public Health England (PHE), the UK health organization renowned for its progressive stance in relation to harm reduction, has released footage from an experiment indicating the devastating harm caused by smoking, and how this can be avoided or minimized by switching to safer NRTs such as vaporizers.
The release of this film is part of PHE‘s Health Harms campaign, which encourages smokers to try quitting this January. It features health experts Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard, carrying out an experiment that demonstrates the significant levels of cancer-causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month, when compared to a non-smoker or a vaper.
A clear indication of the stark contrast between smoking and vaping
The demonstration achieves this by replicating the effects of inhaling tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapour and normal air, into three bell jars filled with cotton wool, which mimic lungs. Each bell jar is attached to a diaphragm pump providing a continual and equal draw of the three different kinds of air.
By the end of the experiment, the cotton wool in the tobacco bell jar is brown, the inside of the bell jar is brown and the tube leading to the air pump is thick with tar. On the other hand, the bell jar receiving e-cigarette vapour remains practically unchanged, with some water vapour on it and very slight discoloration from the coloring in the e-liquid, while naturally, the one receiving natural air remains unchanged, with the exception of the formation of some water vapour.
PHE director of health improvement Professor John Newton said this experiment clearly indicates the stark contrast between the impacts of smoking and vaping. “It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about safety,” he said.
“We need to reassure smokers that switching to an e-cigarette would be much less harmful than smoking. This demonstration highlights the devastating harms caused by every cigarette and helps people see that vaping is likely to pose only a fraction of the risk,” he added.
Many smokers remain misinformed about the relative safety of vaping
Sadly, research has indicated that 44% of smokers either wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking, or do not know that it poses much lower health risks. The PHE is aware that with the start of the new year, at least half a million smokers will try quitting, and it is urging them to use its Personal Quit Plan in order to increase their chances of being successful.