When it comes to reducing harm from nicotine addiction, a new study from Brown University has found that pod-based electronic cigarettes (‘vapes’) may be the lesser evil. The study involved current cigarette smokers, some of whom were tasked with switching their regular tobacco cigarettes with pod-based vapes instead.
Electronic cigarettes, more commonly referred to as vapes, have become a popular alternative to nicotine. These devices increasingly come in ‘pod’ form, which use small refillable cartridges with an enclosed heating element and wick. The devices are used with a liquid solution containing nicotine.
Though public experts have cautioned that electronic cigarettes are healthy, the evidence does point toward them being less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, which expose the smokers to carbon monoxide, tar, and a variety of chemicals that contribute to their addictive nature.
The new study involved 186 participants, all of them smokers. The participants were divided into two groups; two-third were given electronic cigarettes to use in the place of tobacco cigarettes for six weeks while the remainder continued to use their regular tobacco cigarettes.
After the six weeks, the participants were evaluated and those given vapes were found to have ‘significantly lower’ levels of NNAL, a very risky pulmonary carcinogen. As well, the vape group was described as having ‘significantly’ lower carbon monoxide levels compared to smokers, and they reported that their respiratory symptoms improved.
The researchers caution that nicotine remains addictive and that the healthiest thing you can do is never get addicted. However, for those who addicted to cigarettes, vaping may be a less risky transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.