Harmful effects of e-cigarettes
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) was commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services (HOD) to assess whether the use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine can be harmful to health. The report is based on results from systematic overviews and a toxicological assessment of the ingredients in e-cigarette vapor.
The report is an update of the NIPH's previous knowledge summary from 2015.
May increase the risk of adverse health effects
As with other nicotine-containing products, vaping during pregnancy will also pose a risk to mother and child. Similarly, nicotine can affect development of the brain, which is not fully developed until the mid-20s.
In addition, there have been reported cases of poisoning after intake of e-cigarette liquid, as well as damage caused by explosion or where the unit / battery has overheated.
Most studies performed in humans have only investigated the effect of short-term use. In order to accurately estimate the increased risk, long-term studies performed on humans are required, but these do not exist.
"Nevertheless, the underlying knowledge is sufficient to conclude that e-cigarette use can be harmful to health," says Rune Becher, senior researcher at NIPH.
On sale since 2005
E-cigarettes were introduced to the American market in the period 2005–2010 without adequate studies to discover their potential harmful effects.
"E-cigarettes are a complex product group with a wide variety of product type and ingredients in the liquids. This means that there will also be great variation in what the individual user will be exposed to. E-cigarettes should not be considered to be a harmless nicotine product," explains Becher.
In Norway, e-cigarettes can be sold with nicotine-free e-liquid. It is currently illegal to sell e-liquid containing nicotine, but private individuals may, under certain conditions, import a limited amount for personal use. New regulations have been adopted to allow the sale of e-liquid containing nicotine in Norway, based on the EU Tobacco Directive and these are expected to come into force during the coming year.