Less Risk Of Cancer From Vaping and New Anti IQOS Health Study Slammed By Scientists
Scientists have found vaping does NOT cause damage to the lungs and cancer ‘biomarkers’ are at the same level for vapers as those of none smokers.
Meanwhile world renowned health experts have hit back at a recent study suggesting ‘heat not burn’ devices and in particular the IQOS brand – ‘alters’ lung function and are just as bad for health as lit tobacco.
We’re talking about the relative newcomers to the ‘vape scene’ JUUL and the heat not burn device IQOS. Both of whom in the very short time they’ve been around have certainly made an impact and neither ever seem to be out of the media spotlight.
I may have had my ups and downs with Phillip Morris Inc [PMI] – the parent company of IQOS – but have slowly softened my stance. And to see health experts that I highly regard defending the IQOS brand has softened my stance even more. More on that later…
JUUL Says Risk Of Cancer Reduced By Vaping
First up JUUL and those ‘cancer biomarkers’.
JUUL is another company I’ve been shall we say a little ‘angsty‘ with. However as much as you try you can’t avoid the fact they are without doubt a vape company to be reckoned with and seems forever in the news. And as I reported in last week’s Vaping News they are about to roll out big time here in the UK and with projected profits of a staggering $3.4 billion this year alone – I for one and in the spirit of fairness and balance – can’t not report on their activities…
It’s good to see the company has expanded into ‘clinical trials’ however they have only released part of their findings. JUUL representatives announced the findings at this year’s U.S. Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (SRNT) 2019.
The study titled – Changes in Biomarkers of Exposure Associated with Switching for 5 Days from Combusted Cigarettes to Nicotine Salt Pod System – looked at 90 adult smokers over a relatively small 5 day period.
Incidentally ‘cancer biomarkers’ are:
…a molecule secreted by a tumor or a specific response of the body to the presence of cancer.
The smokers were split into randomized groups of six made up of those still smoking – those abstaining and four other groups using different flavoured JUUL pods.
Tests on urine and bloods were taken and the results were interesting to say the least with those using the e-cigarette seeing almost identical drops in ‘cancer biomarkers’ to those not vaping or smoking. However those in the ‘still smoking’ group saw an increase of around 14%:
The study found that all eight non-nicotine urine BOEs were reduced by an aggregate of 85.3% in the abstinence group compared to an 85.0% aggregate reduction in the pooled NSPS group (p > 0.05). This represents a 99.6% relative reduction in aggregate BOEs for the pooled NSPS group. In the cigarette group, the same BOEs increased by an aggregate of 14.4% from baseline.
Whilst this is of course an in house clinical trial and not all the evidence has been released – it certainly shows once again that vaping really is far far healthier than smoking and probably carries much less risk of developing cancer.
Kevin Burns, Chief Executive Officer at Juul Labs said:
We are very pleased to share these findings with fellow researchers at SRNT 2019, which continue to demonstrate the potential positive impact of vapor products.
The equivalent reductions in these specific cigarette-related biomarkers across the groups who abstained from smoking and those who used JUUL products reaffirms the role vapor products can have for the adult smoker.
Although addictive, nicotine is not directly responsible for the cancers that are commonly associated with cigarette use; rather it is the harmful constituents that are present in combustible smoke.
The more that can be done to eliminate cigarettes, the greater the impact will be on the public health.
We are committed to conducting rigorous, scientific research as we contribute to the ongoing dialogue regarding vapor products, and look forward to sharing additional research with the medical, scientific, and public health communities.
Anti Heat Not Burn Study Wrong Says Health Experts
More good news for the vaping world – but when it comes to heat not burn devices the scientific community seems at odds to say the least. However following the results of a study suggesting devices such as IQOS may not be a ‘healthy alternative’ experts in the know have hit back.
The study is from the University of Tasmania in Australia and has come fire from two leading lights in e-cigarette research.
The research in question was led by Dr Sukhwinder Singh Sohal and the method ‘exposed’ human cells to vapour from various e-cigarettes including Blu – the Heets Sticks from IQOS and smoke from Marlboro Red lit cigarettes over a constant 3 day period!
They concluded the findings showed that IQOS in particular may “emit substantially high levels of carbonyls” – which they suggested showed effects could be carcinogenic.
The study concluded:
Given our current findings and those of previous studies, in a manner very similar to cigarette smoke and eCigs, IQOS has the potential to increase oxidative stress and inflammation, infections, airway remodelling and initiate EMT-related changes in the airways of users of these devices.
However, prospective clinical studies must be conducted to verify our in vitro, cell-based but highly important and novel findings on IQOS.
Not so says Dr Lion Shahab, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology & Public Health at UCL who called the results “problematic” and “misleading” and questioned if the ‘testing’ had any validation at all adding:
These type of studies (whether in cells or animals) also have problems for different reasons which are key when trying to make more general inferences.
For instance, exposing cells to smoke or vapour continuously for 3 days, as was done here, does not reflect realistic use conditions. This also applies to the concentrations of smoke used in the experiment which is not what humans inhale.
…The claim that e-cigarettes (and heat-not-burn devices) are as toxic as cigarettes was not, in fact, tested in the analysis and is misleading.
…While results from this study confirm detrimental changes in the functioning of isolated cells after exposure to vapour and cigarette smoke, it is far from clear that the effect of vapour is similar to that of cigarette smoke as seen in humans and whether these changes have meaningful health consequences.
He was backed by Dr Ed Stephens, Senior Research Fellow, University of St Andrews who was quite literally ‘baffled’ by the study as a whole!
He didn’t hold back either:
This Research Letter to ERJ Open Research is a puzzling contribution to the debate on e-cigarette safety.
It presents new data that purport to show, among other things, that emissions from e-cigarettes are about as harmful to respiratory health as smoking combustible cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are certainly not harmless but the authors’ conclusion is inconsistent with most published research which indicates that vaping is significantly less hazardous than smoking.
…I suggest that the authors’ conclusions be treated with considerable caution until we have this information and it can be demonstrated that their experiments adequately represented vaping in the real world outside the lab.
Talk about getting shot down in flames!
A Timely Reminder Long Term Use Of E-Cigarettes Does NOT Affect Your Lungs
To put things into perspective here – particularly when it comes the effect e-cigarettes have on lung health in particular let’s go back to this time last year.
In one of the longest studies of its kind and led by Professor Riccardo Polosa his team spent 3.5 years looking into the long term effects e-cigarettes had on the lungs.
BTW you might also remember it was Professor Polosa that held up a slice of burned toast inside the Houses of Parliament to show UK MPs the kind of impossibly high temperatures vapers would need to be vaping to affect lung function or indeed cause any damage.
His study was released this time last year and included 9 ‘never smokers’ given e-cigarettes and tested against a dozen young people NOT using e-cigs and who had also ‘never smoked’. The results were startling to say the least with absolutely no difference between the two groups.
Professor Polosa said at the time:
Although electronic cigarettes (ECs) are a much less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes, there is concern as to whether long-term ECs use may cause risks to human health.
We report health outcomes (blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, exhaled breath nitric oxide [eNO], exhaled carbon monoxide [eCO], and high-resolution computed tomography [HRCT] of the lungs) from a prospective 3.5-year observational study of a cohort of nine daily EC users (mean age 29.7 (±6.1) years) who have never smoked and a reference group of twelve never smokers.
No significant changes could be detected over the observation period from baseline in the EC users or between EC users and control subjects in any of the health outcomes investigated. Moreover, no pathological findings could be identified on HRCT of the lungs and no respiratory symptoms were consistently reported in the EC user group.
Although it cannot be excluded that some harm may occur at later stages, this study did not demonstrate any health concerns associated with long-term use of EC in relatively young users who did not also smoke tobacco.
Professor Polosa accepts the study had a small number of participants but says the results make the perfect ‘preliminary evidence’ for any future larger trials adding:
Even the heaviest EC users failed to exhibit any evidence of emerging lung injury as reflected in these physiologic, clinical or inflammatory measures. Moreover, no changes were noted in blood pressure or heart rate.
Since the EC users who we studied were never smokers, potential confounding by inhalation of combustion products of tobacco were obviated.
While the sample size was small, the results of this study may provide some preliminary evidence that long-term use of ECs is unlikely to raise significant health concerns in relatively young users.
Further studies in a larger sample of EC users with and without a history of tobacco smoking are warranted.
Even more evidence – if it was needed – that making the switch from smoking to vaping is one of the best things you can do for your health.
However whilst the anti vaping and tobacco lobbies are throwing out cash left right and centre to the science community hoping to find a chink in vaping’s armour – expect many more ‘sexed up’ studies to land any time soon 😉