A small study involving 85 mice, from researchers at New York University, USA indicates that e-cigarettes are a lung carcinogen. This resulted in alarming headlines in the British Press. At present the jury is still out with respect to the effect of e-cigarettes in humans and NHS states, "They're not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes"
NHS Smoke Free states that many people find e-cigarettes – also known as vapes – helpful for stopping smoking and note that quitting with an e-cigarette is particularly effective when combined with expert face-to-face support.
Dr Noel Baxter, Policy lead for the Primary Care Respiratory Society, says the situation cannot be compared to the UK where vaping devices and liquids are tightly regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The liquid constituents in the e-cigarettes involved in the US deaths are not permitted here.
He explains: “These events may have been caused by high concentration cannabinoid chemicals in the vape liquid. This of course does not prevent the purchase or home making of non-regulated products as illegal markets do exist.
“In the UK among a vaping population that stands at 3.6 million there are only two known cases of lipoid pneumonia, the clinical phenomenon being linked to vaping. Any clinician should be using the Yellow Card scheme to report any regulated product they think is causing harm. (You can check if a product is regulated on the MHRA website). As with illegal tobacco, our trading standards officers in local authorities should be notified if clinicians have any concerns about providers of e-cigarette products their area.”