Are electronic cigarettes really safe?

Verified on 18/11/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
Les cigarettes électroniques sont-elles réellement sans danger ?

A recent study looks at electronic cigarettes, with and without nicotine, and their impact on health. So, are they really safe?

A booming sector, the electronic cigarette market will continue to gain ground in 2023, with estimated sales of over 1.2 billion euros.

According to the Observatoire français des drogues et tendances addictives, 37.4% of French people have already tried them at least once in their lives, and 5.4% of them have ended up adopting them.

According to the Fédération France Vapotage, they have enabled nearly 2 million French people to quit smoking.

This success could even lead to the authorization of sales in pharmacies, as envisaged by the former Minister of Health, François Braun (this would only concern e-cigarettes used as nicotine substitutes, which is not the case for « puffs », for example).

So, are these alternatives to cigarettes really safe?

Do electronic cigarettes affect respiratory health?

Today, the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still unclear.

Scientists have decided to remedy this lack of knowledge by studying their impact on neutrophils, the white blood cells involved in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD), a very common disease among current and former tobacco smokers.

Just as harmful as traditional cigarettes

In this study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, they exposed neutrophils from healthy, non-smoking volunteers to 40 puffs of e-cigarette vapor, with and without nicotine.

Then they compared the characteristics of these white blood cells to those never exposed to e-cigarette vapor.

As a result, even without nicotine, it has been proven that nicotine has damaged them, increasing the risk of developing disease. These observations demonstrate the damage caused by electronic cigarettes to respiratory health.

This effect is just as harmful as that of traditional cigarettes, which explains why their sale could soon be banned.