Prof. Glantz Says Vaping May Be 1/3 To 1/2 As Harmful As Cigarettes
University of California, San Francisco Prof. Stanton Glantz said that even though eVapor products deliver fewer carcinogens than conventional cigarettes, agencies concerned about public health “should consider them at least 1/3 as bad as cigarettes and maybe as high as half as bad (or higher),” asserting that “the evidence that e-cigarettes substantially increase heart and lung disease keeps piling up” and “at least some of the short-term effects of e-cigarette use on [the cardiovascular system and lungs] are comparable to cigarettes,” citing separate studies by Aruni Bhatnagar of the University of Louisville, Nick Wilson of the University of Otago, and Elizabeth Martin of the University of North Carolina. Prof. Glantz cited a recent review, in which University of Louisville Prof. Aruni Bhatnagar notes that “even if the levels of acrolein in e-cigarettes are 10-fold lower than those present in conventional cigarettes, given the non-linear dose-response relationship between cigarette smoke and cardiovascular injury, it is not clear whether this would result in proportional harm reduction.” Prolonged (90 days) exposure to even low-dose (0.2 ppm) acrolein leads to non-specific inflammatory cardiac lesions, and therefore, the generation of acrolein and other aldehydes in e-cig aerosols, even in low concentrations, remains a cause for concern, according to Prof. Bhatnagar. Based on his review of the evidence, he concludes, among other things, that eVapor products “cannot be recommended as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.” Prof. Glantz also cited a review of studies on biological markers in vapers published by Prof. Nick Wilson and colleagues at Otago University in New Zealand, which found that vaping had smaller effects on the vascular system than smoking, but the effects were still substantial, and that smoking and vaping had the same effects on the physiological endpoint, or the ability of arteries to dilate. In another study, Elizabeth Martin and colleagues from the University of North Carolina School Of Medicine found that vaping results in the suppression of immune and inflammatory-response genes in nasal epithelial cells similar to cigarette smoke. Prof. Glantz contended that all of this accumulating evidence shows that the “evidence-free ‘expert opinion’ from group of e-cigarette enthusiasts that e-cigarettes are ‘95% safer’ than cigarettes, which was repeated uncritically by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians is wrong.” He said the “longer these organizations take to modify their positions on the emerging science the lower their credibility is becoming” (UC San Francisco 7/9).