Teenagers who vape up to five times more likely to start smoking cigarettes
The effects of vaping on users' health and their benefit in reducing cigarette smoking have been called into question.
Teenagers who vape are much more likely to start smoking, according to a report from the Health Research Board (HRB).
The report found that if a teenager had ever used an e-cigarette then they were between three and five times more likely to start smoking than those who never used e-cigarettes.
It looked at the figures around vaping, highlighting that the devices are not yet regulated or approved, and that their safety beyond 12 months is not yet known.
In Ireland, for example, 5% of people in Ireland use e-cigarettes, and a further 12% have tried them at some point.
38% of those who have made an attempt to quit smoking used e-cigarettes during this attempt.
The report says that the acute effects of using e-cigarettes include poisonings, burns, blast injuries, lung injury and asthmatic attacks.
It claims that some of the chemicals in e-cigarettes are thought to cause tissue and cell damage, and some are agents that may cause cancer in the long-term.
However, this can not be confirmed as the long-term health effects beyond 24 months have not been researched.
The report concludes that dual use of both e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco cigarettes wasn’t less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes alone, which, according to HRB, "raises questions about the smoking reduction benefit of e-cigarettes".
Doctor Jean Long, Head of the Evidence Centre at the Health Research Board, said: "HRB evidence shows e-cigarettes are no more effective than approved and regulated nicotine replacement therapy to help people stop smoking.
"They can cause harms including burns, poisonings and lung injuries. Our findings also highlight that e-cigarettes have the potential to negatively impact on the health of adolescents, leaving them more likely to initiate tobacco smoking.
"These factors would have to be considered as part of any smoking harm reduction strategy."