Researchers have counted 7,764 varieties of ‘vape.’ That adds up to one of many challenges – from practical constraints to conflicts of interest – in working out how safe e-cigs (Grenco Science trash talk microg vaporizer pen) are, and whether they help smokers quit.
Most scientists agree e-cigs have potential as a stop-smoking aid. They can be used with or without nicotine and are free of the thousands of toxins in conventional cigarettes. But e-cigs also throw up some unusual obstacles.
Drug firms usually test one treatment against another. With e-cigarettes, the huge variety of constantly evolving products means it would be prohibitively expensive to test every flavor and vaporizer.
“E-cigs are really the first product I’m aware of that have challenged pharma in this way,” said Chris Bullen, an associate professor at the University of Auckland and author of one of two randomized trials of e-cigs (Grenco Science g pen essential oil vaporizer pen) in a recent major review of the science. “I guess many alternative ‘natural’ products raise similar issues when they start to make health claims.”
E-cigarettes can look like ordinary smokes but are metal and plastic battery-powered gadgets that heat flavored liquids into a cloud which users suck in, then exhale as dense white plumes. Invented in their present form in China about a decade ago, e-cigarettes generated $4 billion to $5 billion in sales in 2014, according to Euromonitor, a market research firm.
The gadgets themselves come in hundreds of brands and are constantly morphing, at the hands of both users and the small-scale distributors who sell them online.
Because they are a strange hybrid between smoking – which kills nearly 6 million people a year – and stop-smoking medications, e-cigs rival both tobacco and pharma. Tobacco companies have responded to that threat by buying up e-cig businesses, and are now funding research. Pharma firms have kept their distance.
The products have also opened a rift between researchers who see their goal as eliminating nicotine in all its forms, and others who believe it makes more sense to reduce the harm of smoking.
“You’ve got people who’ve taken a position and they’re looking at the evidence only in relation to the position they’ve got,” David Sweanor, an e-cig enthusiast and law professor at the University of Ottawa, told an e-cigarette symposium in London in November.