On Jan. 23, 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a new congressionally mandated report that takes a comprehensive look at evidence on the human health effects of e-cigarettes. Although the research base is limited given the relatively short time e-cigarettes have been used, the committee that conducted the study identified and examined over 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies, reaching dozens of conclusions about a range of health impacts.
Among the conclusions reached is that while the evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are not without health risks, they are likely to be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes. The report says this is because they contain fewer numbers and lower levels of toxic substances than conventional cigarettes, and using e-cigarettes may help adults who smoke conventional cigarettes quit smoking. However, the NASEM report also says that among youth – who use e-cigarettes at higher rates than adults do – there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of transitioning to smoking conventional cigarettes.
Whether e-cigarettes have an overall positive or negative impact on public health is currently unknown, the report says. “More and better research on e-cigarettes’ short- and long-term effects on health and on their relationship to conventional smoking is needed to answer that question with clarity,” said David Eaton, Chair of the committee that wrote the report, and Dean and Vice Provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle.
Impact on General Dentistry: General dentistry has long been on the front line of defense against oral cancer. To that end, the AGD will continue to support increased research as well as monitor activity related to the study and regulation of this rapidly growing industry.