"E-cigarettes can not be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful", said David Eaton, chair of the committee.
"In some circumstances, such as their use by non-smoking adolescents and young adults, their adverse effects clearly warrant concern".
"There is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use by youth and young adults increases their risk of ever using conventional cigarettes", the report states. "In other cases, such as when adult smokers use them to quit smoking, they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness". In the best-supported category, the team reports conclusive evidence that completely switching to e-cigarettes can cut down on a smoker's exposure to the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in regular cigarettes. The result, published today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, reports that swapping e-cigarettes for the regular kind reduces some of the health risks associated with smoking.
Millions of Americans vape, but little is known about the comprehensive health effects of e-cigarettes.
This report shows what happens when a new product is introduced without meaningful government oversight.
There is conclusive evidence that exposure to nicotine from e-cigarettes is highly variable and depends on the characteristics of the device and the e-liquid, as well as on how the device is operated. "E-cigarettes can not be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful". "Evidence suggests that while they're not necessarily without health risks on their own, they are likely to be far less harmful than a conventional cigarette". "We need to put novel products like e-cigarettes through an appropriate series of regulatory gates to fully evaluate their risks and maximize their potential benefits".
Philip Morris' penlike device, called iQOS, is already sold in more than 30 countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released their findings on January 23, citing evidence that e-cigarettes were safer than traditional smoking products, but refused to declare vaping devices completely safe.
E-Cigs are considered safer because the vaping process doesn't contain tar and other toxic elements that occur when smoking regular cigarettes.
Since the e-cigarette craze took over at the start of the decade, medical researchers have fiercely debated the health risks of vaping. We must continue efforts to educate youth and young adults who don't smoke that taking up e-cigarette use poses substantial risks. She's a public policy researcher with the University of California, San Francisco. The decision was blasted by anti-smoking advocates who say some e-cigarette manufacturers target kids with candy and fruit flavors.
NEIGHMOND: And that temptation to try tobacco cigarettes, she says, was easily exacerbated. Vaping now becomes a fascinating thing for the teenagers to which a number of teens are easily getting e-cigarettes. And so they are perceived as less risky.
NEIGHMOND: And using e-cigs might change the culture or social group young people are involved with.
NASEM's advice is important because it will guide the FDA as the agency decides how to regulate the vaping industry, which last year got a four-year reprieve from rules that threatened to drive the vast majority of companies out of business.