VAPING could be a “ticking time bomb” with “long term consequences” warns England’s medical chief after a sixth person is confirmed to have died of mysterious a e-cigarette disease.
Professor Dame Sally Davies raised her concerns about the trend, as she prepares to steps down after nearly a decade as the nation’s doctor.
In an interview this month with Civil Service World, Professor Davies asked: “Is this a ticking time bomb? Will they turn out to have long term consequences?”
Public Health England published a report in 2015 suggesting that vaping could be 95 per cent less harmful than normal cigarettes.
The report stated: “There is no evidence that e-cigarettes (EC) are undermining the long-term decline in cigarette smoking among adults and youth, and may in fact be contributing to it.”
Professor Davies conceded evidence has accumulated to suggest that e-cigarettes may help as a smoking cessation tool, but did not believe the evidence is ‘hard’ yet.
She added: “Meanwhile they’re not regulated. So when you buy them, you don’t know that you’re getting what it says on the packet.
I do – and will continue to – worry, because we don’t know what they effects are of long-term use.
Professor Dame Sally Davies
“I do – and will continue to – worry, because we don’t know what they effects are of long-term use, or about the effect on people who may be upping their nicotine addiction by using them as well as smoking.”
She added: “What you have to remember is that evidence is a social construct. So there’s hard evidence, from randomised control trials and meta-analysis. But then there’s other evidence.
“Policy based just on hard evidence leaves out all sorts of things that haven’t been tested but which maybe should be tried.
“The other thing, which is always difficult to explain to the public and to non-scientists, is that science kind of flip flops a bit to get to a final answer.”
SIX DIE FROM MYSTERY LUNG DISEASE
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump threatened to ban the sale of thousands of vape cigarettes.
US health officials are also investigating hundreds of confirmed or probable cases of lung illness connected to illicit cannabis vaping products.
A sixth person died from a mysterious lung disease related to the devices, health officials in the US confirmed on Wednesday.
The patient, who was over 50 and from Kansas, was in hospital “with symptoms that progressed rapidly”.
State officials said they don’t have detailed information on the type of products the person was using.
They are understood to have had a history of underlying health issues, they said in a statement today.
It comes after officials in California confirmed the death of a 55-year-old man on Saturday.
He was one of 12 people in LA experiencing severe and sudden lung disease after vaping.
It followed the deaths of four e-cigarette users from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon passed away.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also probing 450 cases of lung conditions across 33 states that may have been caused by vaping.
Symptoms of the mysterious condition include chest pain, shortness of breath and vomiting – with some people ending up in intensive care on a ventilator for several weeks.
Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles county public health director, said: “Stop vaping now.
“We’re issuing a warning to all residents about the use of these devices as potentially harmful to proper lung function.”
British health experts have also raised concerns over the health risks of vaping – but Public Health England said they are not aware of any similar incidents in the UK.
Health investigators in the US are now trying to establish whether a particular toxin or substance is being added into products, including marijuana, or whether it stems from heavy usage.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes vape liquid containing THC – the psychoactive agent in cannabis – could be to blame and have issued a warning.
But many patients have said they have no knowledge about the substances they might have used – making treatment complicated.
People are now being urged not to buy bootleg products and to stop modifying devices to vape a mixture of substances.
Vaping works by heating chemical-filled liquid and turning it into steam to be inhaled.
The chemicals are mixed with solvents, or oils, which heat up during aerosolisation to become vapour.
But some oil droplets can be left over as the liquid cools back down and inhaling those can cause breathing problems and lung inflammation.
How safe are e-cigarettes in the UK?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
Simah Herman, 18, was left fighting for her life just two weeks ago after her lungs failed and she could no longer breathe on her own.
And now she is warning others about the dangers of e-cigarettes – in a desperate bid to prevent anyone from suffering the same fate as she did.
The teen shared photos holding signs saying she wants to start a “no vaping campaign”.
She said: “The dangers of vaping are real and this can happen to you. Please don’t let it.
“Don’t let vaping win. Take back your life and quit smoking. It’s just not worth it.”
VAPING IN THE UK
Health officials, including Public Health England, recommend vaping to smokers trying to quit.
They’re claimed to be up to 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes.
Public Health England insists that “false fears” over vaping and stopping many smokers from using them.
Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, previously said that although they were aware of the risks, “there is widespread academic and clinical consensus that while not without risk, vaping is far less harmful than smoking”.
Regarding the spate of deathsin America, Martin Dockrell, Head of Tobacco Control at PHE, said: “A full investigation is not yet available but we’ve heard reports that most of these cases were linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or homemade, some containing cannabis products, like THC, or synthetic cannabinoids, like Spice.
“Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences.
“Our advice remains that e-cigarettes are a fraction of the risk of smoking, and using one makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone. But it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances, any of which could be harmful.”
The UK versus USA – how vaping compares
TWO chemicals found in two popular vaping flavours could destroy lung function, experts have warned.
Inhaling the popcorn and caramel e-cig liquids could increase a vaper’s risk of respiratory diseases, their findings suggest.
Popcorn flavoured e-cig liquid is especially harmful, thanks to the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to “popcorn lung”.
In the UK, diacetyl was banned in e-cigarette liquid under the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 2016.
So, e-liquids sold in the UK shouldn’t contain diacetyl but if you get your liquid on holiday, you may well find that it includes it.
Prof Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is the latest UK-based expert to raise “serious concerns” about the devices.
He urged PHE to stop promoting e-cigs as a means to helping smokers quit.
“The nicotine in e-cigarettes is not a harmless drug and then there are all these other things such as flavourings that are inhaled.
“We haven’t had e-cigarettes for long enough to know the true effects. But when we look at the evidence we do have, there are enough grounds for serious concerns.
“Given the short-term effects on lung function and cardiovascular effects, there is enough evidence to say we should be very, very careful.”
His comments aren’t the first to throw the safety of vaping pens into question.
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We previously revealed that millions of vapers are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, with vaping increasing the risk by as much as 71 per cent.
Two popular flavourings – caramel and popcorn – have also been found to destroy lung function.
And in March, a study found that vapers were twice as likely to suffer wheezing and breathing difficulties as non-smokers.
Simah was left fighting for her life just two weeks ago after her lungs failed[/caption]
Simah is warning others about the dangers of e-cigarettes[/caption]
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