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Recent Survey of Under 35s – Most Think Ecigs are Safer

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that the number of cigarette smokers has hit an all-time low. In 2005, there were 45 million smokers across the country; in 2015, there were 37 million – a 15% difference. Many people believe electronic cigarettes have played a major role in reducing that rate. In fact, a study out of Ohio State University shows that people under age 35 believe that ecigarettes are far safer than their traditional counterparts.

The Results of the Survey

Ohio State University gathered some 2,000 volunteers, all under the age of 35, who used cigarettes, smokeless tobacco (chew), or e-cigarettes for the study. Overall, 44% of the people who participated said they believed ecigs to be less harmful to the lungs than traditional cigarettes. Among the men who were surveyed, that number jumped up to a whopping 54%. This means that the younger generation feels that ecigs are a better, safer alternative to traditional tobacco products.

Are Ecigs Really Safer?

Peter Shields, MD, a thoracic oncologist, says that there is really not enough data to determine whether ecigs are truly safer than traditional cigarettes. Fortunately, some studies are currently in the works to help get to the bottom of this.

  • Study 1 – In the first project, 60 volunteers who use a variety of tobacco products (ecigs, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco) will undergo a procedure known as bronchoscopy, where doctors look at lung tissue with a camera. This will allow them to determine the differences in effects that each type of product has on the lungs. Then, non-smoker volunteers (those who have never smoked or used tobacco products) will also undergo bronchoscopy before using nicotine- and flavor-free ecigs for a month. A second bronchoscopy will reveal the changes in their lung tissue.


  • Study 2 – In yet another study, several hundred smokers will be surveyed and asked to use ecig products for eight weeks. The goal of this study is to determine the impact that ecigs have on carcinogen exposure in both smokers and non-smokers. This will help identify whether ecigs are actually safer in terms of cancer risk than traditional cigarettes.

The FDA’s Involvement

The FDA strives to provide consumers with valid and valuable information. This group, along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has provided funding to Ohio State University’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Sciences to make these studies possible. The goal is to use science to back up the FDA’s regulations on tobacco products. Ohio State is one of the biggest research universities in the country when it comes to cancer and tobacco, and they are excited to learn more about the real effects of ecigs on consumers’ health.

Although people under age 35 believe that ecigs are safer than traditional cigarettes, the truth is that there isn’t enough research and information to back that belief. Fortunately, thanks to the FDA, the NIH, and the talented researchers at Ohio State University, two unique and groundbreaking studies will help to shed more light on the effects of ecigs.





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