E-cigarettes are now becoming the newest, hottest and most popular way to smoke traditional cigarettes, a study has found.
It was released by the American Lung Association (ALA) on Tuesday as it launched a new campaign to educate the public about the health risks of e-cigs, which many have been calling a gateway to smoking.
Alcohol, tobacco and prescription medication can also be harmful to people who switch to e-cigarette use.
The new study, based on data from more than 50,000 adults, found that, for the first time, e-cig users who used traditional cigarettes were more likely to have lung cancer than those who used e-juices.
Al Jazeera’s Tom Bower said it is not clear how much e-liquid is toxic and how many of the people who have tried to quit conventional cigarettes are actually succeeding.
“There are many more smokers in the United States than we know, and it is the tobacco smokers who are more likely than the e-vapers to be dying from the smoking cessation drugs they are using,” he said.
“So there are a lot of people who are suffering and are dying from tobacco smoking and e-smoking, but they are not getting any help for it.”
The findings of the study, published in the journal BMJ Open, follow similar studies that found e-pigs can help smokers quit smoking.
The ALA, a US health advocacy group, has been pushing the public to talk about e-tobacco and its dangers, and to see the harm that can be caused to people with chronic diseases and chronic health conditions such as diabetes.
The group has been targeting teenagers and young adults and has been urging them to take up e-liquids, which can be inhaled or swallowed.
The AA said it was not able to compare the effects of e‐cigarettes with traditional cigarettes on people who tried to switch.
But the researchers said it found a strong association between e-conversion and lung cancer.
“We found a stronger association for e-colas and lung cancers when compared with conventional cigarettes and that was true for people who had tried e-capsules or other tobacco replacement products,” said study author Dr. Mark Rosenblatt, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
“But e-e-cigarette smokers also had an increased risk for lung cancer when compared to non-users of e‑cigarettes.”
“The findings are encouraging,” he added.
The researchers said the findings did not mean that e-consumers were healthier or safer than their traditional cigarettes.
“I don’t think it’s a given that e–cigarettes will do anything to reduce the risks for people with health conditions or chronic disease,” Rosenblatts said.
The study did find that people who were exposed to tobacco smoke were more than three times more likely and smokers who switched to e‑cigs had higher lung cancer rates than those with conventional cigarette use.
“It’s a very strong association, but we need more research,” he explained.
The tobacco industry has responded by saying that the study shows that e‑cig use is harmful and that its only intended use is as a gateway into smoking.
“The FDA’s position is that it is unsafe for people to start using e-Cigarettes, so they don’t sell them to anyone,” a spokesperson for Philip Morris International said in a statement.
“If people decide they are ready to quit smoking, they should continue using traditional cigarettes and try vaping instead.”
Dr Rosenblat said the results were important because e-bikes are already in the public domain and that the ALA could not have done a study to compare them to cigarettes.
He said the ALS had also made a “misleading” statement about the safety of e cigarettes.
The research comes just a few months after the National Cancer Institute published a report claiming that e cigarettes could help people quit smoking and help reduce lung cancer risk.
“This study does not definitively prove that e‐cigarette use causes lung cancer, but the results do demonstrate that e cig users are more at risk for developing lung cancer,” said Rosenblats co-author Dr. Richard Cresswell.