Statement on Long Term Safety of Vaping

14 August 2018

A new study from Birmingham University suggests e-cigarettes can disable the immune system's ability to clear the lungs and prevent harmful chemical build-ups. 

The research, which was based on lung cells extracted from healthy volunteers who had never smoked, found some of the harms were equivalent to those seen with tobacco smoking.

However, in a response provided by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham said: “This study demonstrates evidence that lung cells exposed to electronic cigarette vapour become inflamed, as would be expected given that electronic cigarette vapour contains oxidant and other pro-inflammatory constituents. 

“This indicates that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is likely to have adverse effects, as is widely recognised by leading health authorities in the UK including the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. However, since electronic cigarettes are used almost exclusively in the UK by current or former smokers, the key question is how this adverse effect compares with that of exposure to cigarette smoke. 

“The harsh truth is that smoking kills, and smokers who switch completely to electronic cigarettes are likely to substantially reduce the likelihood of premature death and disability.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research supports the latest evidence from Public Health England that states e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking.  

If you’re a smoker and wondering how vaping may help you kick the habit for good, take a look at the bullet points below:

•    People who use e-cigarettes with the help of local stop smoking services are more likely to successfully quit
•    There are no identified health risks of passive vaping to those around you. This is very different to the strong evidence of harm caused by breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke.
•    Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of early death in Yorkshire – responsible for 16 different types of cancer, including 72% of lung cancers, 44% of bladder cancers and 20% of liver cancers. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. 
•    The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to completely quit for good

For more information, please visit our Vape to Quit campaign page at




Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 575 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
    • Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
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