Health impacts of vaping: how does it compare to smoking?
Illegal vapes confiscated from school pupils have been found to contain high levels of chemicals found in cigarette smoke, it has been reported.
Baxter College in Kidderminster took away e-cigarettes which were then sent to a lab where test results revealed harmful levels of lead, nickel and chromium - the BBC said on Tuesday.
The Inter Scientific laboratory, which works with e-cigarette manufacturers to ensure regulatory standards are met, analysed 18 vapes that were taken off pupils. Most of these devices were found to be illegal.
Lab co-founder David Lawson said: “In 15 years of testing, I have never seen lead in a device. None of these should be on the market - they break all the rules on permitted levels of metal.
“They are the worst set of results I’ve ever seen.”
Under World Health Organization guidance, exposure to lead can affect the development of the central nervous system and brain.
Vapes have been advertised by the government as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes which has seen them advertised under the “swap to stop” scheme.
Government ministers previously announced that vape starter kits would be offered to almost one in five of all smokers in England.
However, some vapes that have been found in schools are not approved by the UK government and contain substances deemed illegal.
So, how does vaping compare to smoking and what are the risks?
What are the health impacts of smoking?
Smoking accounts for seven in 10 cases of lung cancer, according to the NHS. It also causes a number of other cancers, including mouth, throat, kidney, and liver cancers, among others.
Smoking can also increase your risk of developing conditions like coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also increases your risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
Furthermore, smoking can also make conditions like asthma worse and can impact fertility in both men and women.
Around 76,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year, and many more live with smoking-related illnesses.
What are the health impacts of vaping?
Vapes are “far less harmful than cigarettes”, according to the NHS.
But the NHS also says: “They are not recommended for non-smokers and cannot be sold to people under 18 years old.
Although the long-term risks of vaping are not yet clear, it poses a smaller risk than smoking cigarettes.
Vaping is less harmful because vapes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, and produce a lower level of harmful chemicals.
Additionally, it’s unclear if vaping affects those around you, whereas passive smoking can be harmful.