Is there any medical evidence which proves that electronic cigarettes are bad for your health?
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false. The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.
1 The number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has doubled in two years.
2 The World Health Organisation has stated that e-cigarettes are safe.
3 Taking nicotine without toxicans is as safe as drinking coffee.
4 People using e-cigarettes are as likely to end up smoking as any other person.
5 Most teenagers have tried e-cigarettes.
6 The Welsh government has banned smoking e-cigarettes in closed public places.
7 According to Professor Robert West, prohibiting e-cigarettes would mean a lot of smokers would continue smoking conventional cigarettes.
They are vaping, not smoking, and they are not alone. New figures today show the number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has trebled in two years to 2.1m.
I smoked for years and this is potentially better for you, I guess, you know, you haven’t got any tar.
When you’re smoking an e-cig you just get just nicotine and nothing else.
Despite the enthusiasm here, the British Medical Association and the World Health Organisation have recommended banning e-cigarettes in public places. They say there isn’t enough evidence that they are safe or effective.
Queen Mary University in London. Ian is having the levels of carbon monoxide in his body tested.
That’s showing a 4, that’s a non-smoking reading…
Ian now uses an e-cigarette. It works by heating liquid nicotine into a vapour which is then inhaled. The test is overseen by Professor Peter Hyak.
Many people out there think that nicotine itself is a dangerous poison but if nicotine is taken without the accompanying toxicans, then the health effects will be very similar to drinking coffee.
So that’s a four, that’s exactly the same e-reading as before the e-cigarette.
So e-cigarettes contain no discernible toxins or carbon monoxide. The final test, what reading will Ian get after getting a normal cigarette?
So you got 10 less, that’s officially a smoker reading.
Experts say e-cigarettes are orders of magnitude safer than normal cigarettes but do they work? Professor Robert West in one of the country’s leading addiction experts. He studied 5,000 people who were using different methods to try and stop smoking: patches, gum, e-cigarettes and nothing. His results are published next month.
What we found was that there are those who use e-cigarettes were about 60% more likely still not to be smoking than those who use either the licensed product or nothing at all.
Despite that evidence serious concerns remain. Does the market of e-cigarettes make them attractive to children? One study last year found 12% of 14-to-17 year-olds had tried them.
We already have data which can actually check this worry. If a child tries a conventional cigarette there’s a 50% chance that they’ll become daily users. If a child tries e-cigarettes, so far we have no evidence that they’ll progress to regular use.
There are other worries. The Welsh government says e-cigarettes glamorize and will renormalize smoking. They proposed a ban in closed public places.
They’ll question those someone..., you know, looking at someone using that and thinking they’re smoking, so you’ve got to think, okay, so it’s not dangerous to be near someone who is using an electronic cigarette. There’s really no evidence and actually very little reason to believe that it’s going to renormalize smoking, so what’s the problem?
The problem in the end may simply be the word e-cigarette. The vapour that looks like smoke. A sense that they just don’t feel right.
I can understand people wanting to be cautious but if we fail to take this opportunity that electronic cigarettes potentially are providing, then we’re really condemning people to death, who would otherwise have lived. That’s what’s at stake.
Nonetheless, regulators are clamping down on e-cigarettes. Concerns remain about safety, efficacy and limited regulation.
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