Scientists at the British American Tobacco Institute, a company that sells electronic cigarette devices, discovered that the vapour from these items does not promote the growth of cancer cells. Using new research, the professionals found that contrary to popular belief e-cigarettes are unlikely to trigger cancer.

The studies were funded by British American Tobacco and were conducted in a laboratory using popular cigarette brands such as Rothmans, Dunhill, Lucky Strike, and Benson & Hedges. According to the British American Tobacco official website, the findings from research found that vapour from the electronic cigarettes did not promote and development of diseased cells; and as such inspired the investigation of development alternative nicotine products.

British American Tobacco launched their primary e-cigarette brand, Simply e-Liquid, in 2013 across the United Kingdom. By devoting a significant amount of time, level of funding, and number of resources to the development team, the company was soon able to improve the popularity of the device and now this brand is sold across the globe. To continue improving the health aspect of this e-cigarette, the company continues to employ scientists to conduct experiments regarding the risk of cancer development from their device’s vapour and smoke.

Damian Breheny, the lead author and negative outcomes pathway manager at British American Tobacco stated that the results from research add to a growing body of evidence regarding e-cigarette potentially being a significantly safer smoking option as compared to traditional cigarettes. Findings from different studies showed that smoking a conventional cigarette presented a greater chance of promoting development of cancer cells, even if the activity was at a low concentration.

Researchers at British American Tobacco performed a test known as the Bhas 42 Assay to compare nicotine with tobacco products. This experiment was designed to examine the number of carcinogenic chemicals in the item by searching for changes in lines of cells where a cancer tumour could develop. Results from studies at British American Tobacco indicated that cigarette smoke is generally positive for cancer-promoting activity when using the Bhas 42 Assay test, even if the concentrations are as low as six micrograms per millilitre.

Conversely, results demonstrated that e-cigarette vapour did not present with any cancer-promoting activity at low and high concentrations. In fact, the highest concentration tested was 120 micrograms per millilitre and no cancer cell development was noted at this level. This latest finding is indicative of electronic cigarettes being a healthier option for smokers; thereby, adding to the growing body of evidence regarding e-cigarettes being safer than traditional smoking options.

Previous studies conducted by British American Tobacco have noted that the Vype model e-pen presents with at least 95% less toxins than traditional cigarette smoke. In response to this evidence, Professor Hajek – the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University, London – pointed out that the paper used in the traditional cigarettes is provided from the cigarette industry; therefore, it would be more beneficial and reliable to have the studies repeated by independent researchers with other types of devices. If the findings are replicated, the studies could be considered reliable and verified.

Professor Hajek also noted that from the perspective of a smoker, the study results may be supported by common sense and knowledge regarding electronic cigarettes. This means that vaping is less risky than traditional types of smoking. The electronic devices were developed as a means of helping smokers overcome their habits, but are now marked as health alternatives to the conventional cigarette.

Using information from previous studies, the NHS is beginning to agree that electronic cigarettes are more beneficial for smokers. According to the Public Health England, an independent review from 2015 discovered that approximately 95% of electronic cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional cigarettes. This is due to the device allowing an individual to inhale nicotine without inhaling the additional harmful substances present in tobacco.

Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are not fully risk-free. Research has indicated that the device can contribute to lung damage and may cause heart problems with an increase in the risk of strokes. Despite these health risks, the charity Action on Smoking and Health continues to promote e-cigarettes and points out how flavoured e-liquid can be useful in promoting the use of these devices.