Vaping – is it a risk-free option?

    'Potentially more harmful'

    Not everyone is so reassured, though.

    David Thickett, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Birmingham, is worried about the effects of delivering high doses of nicotine to the lungs through vaping.

    Although nicotine gums and patches have been used for many years to relieve cigarette cravings and are considered safe, he can’t be so sure about nicotine in vaping.

    “That means it’s potentially more harmful in the way that it’s delivered with a vape,” Prof Thickett says.

    In a study in the lab, vaping was found to damage important immune system cells in the lungs, and cause inflammation.

    More research is needed on people who vape to confirm the findings, but some of the effects were similar to those seen in regular smokers and people with chronic lung disease.

    Prof Thickett warns that vapers don’t always receive enough support to wean themselves off nicotine after switching to e-cigarettes.

    He said e-cigarettes were safer than traditional cigarettes, but they could still be harmful in the long term and research was still in its early stages.

    Disposable vapes are the latest trend in vaping. They are cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and can be used straight from the packet. Once finished, they’re thrown away.

    Izzy is attracted by the colours and the flavours, and the fact she can buy one to match her outfit on a night out.

    She used to smoke occasionally at weekends, but she finds vaping a lot more convenient.


    “I vape so much more than I ever smoked. On a night out I could get through a whole vape.”

    E-cigarettes have helped many thousands of people stop smoking by removing the dangerous and toxic tobacco smoke from their habit, giving a huge health boost.

    But the e-cigarette vapour which is inhaled can still contain small amounts of chemicals, including nicotine, which could carry risks of their own. Scientists just haven’t worked out what they are yet.

    There is concern that young people are taking up vaping because they see it as completely risk-free.



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