09 Sep 2020
E-cigarettes are likely to reduce the harm to health if used as a replacement for conventional cigarettes but still pose a risk to health says the independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT).
The COT was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to assess the potential risk to health from nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes.
The COT report today finds that switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes is likely to reduce health risks but highlights that some risks will be reduced more than others. For example, the risk of developing lung cancer is likely to be reduced more than the risk of triggering asthma symptoms.
Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the COT, said:
“Our assessment on e-cigarettes largely reinforces the scientific consensus to date on their relative safety, that while not without risk they are significantly less harmful than smoking. On the types of effects, our assessment shows that e-cigarette users might experience similar types of effects on their health as can occur from smoking conventional cigarettes, such as an increase in signs of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, particularly in those suffering from these conditions, or local irritation such as a burning sensation in the throat, nose, or eyes. But our study does provide reassurance that the health risks to bystanders from the vapour is generally low.”
The COT also found:
The COT assessment concluded that the possible adverse health effects from the long-term use of e-cigarettes is still unknown. As information and science relating to e-cigarettes continues to develop the COT will keep the area under review.
Public Health England