Roswell Park study: are E-cigs safer than cigarettes?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute are beginning a study to look at the safety of electronic cigarettes.

The devices are often used as a smoking cessation device, but are currently not regulated by the FDA. Dr. Maciej Goniewicz believes the research will aid the FDA in developing regulations and definitively show how much safer it is to inhale vaporized nicotine than smoking cigarettes.

Schools, workplaces, and municipalities across the country are trying to figure out what to do about electronic cigarettes. The University at Buffalo has banned them. The City of Los Angeles just outlawed “vaping” in most workplaces and public spots.

But it is not hard to find users who say e-cigarettes were the reason they were finally able to quit smoking.

“Completely. It’s been almost two years and two months for me since I’ve had an analog cigarette,” said Darcelle Boquard, who works at the Buffalo Vapor Lounge.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to stop smoking,” said e-cigarette user Bill Jabine.

And with the number of people using the devices to try and quit smoking, Dr. Goniewicz says it’s time to study the safety of inhaling vaporized nicotine.

“When comparing to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes seem to be much safer. But we need to understand how safe it is. Especially among people who are using these products for long-term,” he said.

The doctor is leading what could be a groundbreaking study at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in partnership with researchers in the United Kingdom and Poland. They will compare smokers, non-smokers, e-cigarette users, and those who use e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes.

Dr. Goniewicz believes the study will provide evidence the FDA can use in figuring out how to regulate e-cigarettes. That’s something both users and retailers who spoke to News 4 say they would support.

“There’s no regulation on the fluids involved. The mechanism itself doesn’t worry me one way or another. It’s a question of quality control of the fluids you’re putting in there,” Jabine said.

“I think it’s great. It’s going to inform the public, people who are on the fence whether they should try it or not,” Boquard said.

UB Wellness Education Services currently does not recommend using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. But if the study leads to regulation, they might.

“In the future if they were approved by the FDA we would consider supporting their use for smoking cessation,” Sharlynn Daun-Barnett said.

Roswell is still looking for participants in the study. They will pay $50 for a one-time check-up and questionnaire. If you are interested, call 845-4916.

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