Image default

NUcheckt: ‘Smoke-free smoking’ seems less unhealthy, but much is still uncertain

NUcheckt checks messages for their reliability. This time we look at the claim that electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. That seems to be true, but these products are also harmful.

Smoking Alternatives

Tobacco producer Philip Morris calls on people to stop smoking via the Unsmoke website, but also draws attention to ‘smoke-free alternatives’. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) is investigating this website, because it probably refers to advertising for tobacco products. This advertising is prohibited in the Netherlands.

Smokers would be healthier if they switched to these smoke-free alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, according to the tobacco manufacturer. But what do we know about the health effects of these products?

NUcheckt spoke with several experts at the end of 2019 about the health risks of e-cigarettes. The conclusion was then that it is established that e-cigarettes are harmful. Only a lot was still unknown about the long-term consequences. This is still true.

Tobacco researcher

Reinskje Talhout, tobacco researcher at RIVM, explains that the vapor from e-cigarettes contains carcinogenic substances. more information about vaping. This also applies to heated tobacco products. The main difference between heated tobacco products and traditional tobacco cigarettes is that the tobacco in heated tobacco products is thus not burned. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but often contain the addictive substance nicotine.

Fewer carcinogens in e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

The amount of carcinogens in the vapor of heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes is considerably lower than the amount of carcinogens in tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are therefore probably less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, according to Talhout.


But we don’t know how much less harmful. Talhout explains that you cannot accurately predict how much they increase the risk of lung cancer, for example, based on the substances that are released when these products are used. If the amount of carcinogen in a product is ten times lower, it does not automatically mean that it is ten times less harmful. The difference could also be much smaller, but we don’t know that yet, Talhout explains.

Unclear if it helps with smoking cessation

If you smoke now, are these products a good way to quit smoking? US health experts concluded early this year that there was too little evidence to recommend e-cigarettes as an aid to smoking cessation. The results of the studies conducted so far have been mixed, according to the experts.


Talhout explains that there are known cases of people who have stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. “But in practice, many people continue to combine e-cigarettes with tobacco cigarettes. Combining e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes is unhealthy.”

“But we don’t know how unhealthy it is yet. That will partly depend on how you combine it. Do the e-cigarettes come on top of the amount someone normally smokes, or are part of the cigarettes replaced? And if so, which ones? then share?”

Concerns about e-cigarette use among young people

A major concern with e-cigarettes in particular is that they are also used by people who previously did not smoke at all. The European scientific committee SCHEER wrote in April that the number of young people in the EU using e-cigarettes doubled between 2012 and 2017.

According to the committee, there are also indications that e-cigarettes can be a stepping stone to the use of normal cigarettes. For example, a study in the US of more than 17,000 14- to 30-year-olds showed that young people who used e-cigarettes were more likely to start smoking.

Healthy alternative

I am also a smoker and I have seen vaping as a healthy alternative for years. It had even become a hobby with the many mods, tanks, batteries and making the e-liquid yourself. (the latter is the liquid you inhale) However, last year I got vague lung complaints, soon I thought it was due to vaping. I made different proportions of e-liquids with pg and vg, tried ready-made liquids, different tank, etc. But nothing helped, until I stopped doing this, then the complaints suddenly disappeared within a week. Unfortunately I have relapsed into normal smoking again, but I have to stop this toord, because it is certainly not healthy. E liquids ecigmarketxl.comfor more information. But vaping should also not be seen as a healthy alternative to smoking, at most perhaps as a slightly less harmful alternative, although it will be years before we know the exact figures. And one last tip: only put e-liquid in it and nothing else, there are already known cases of people with whom it ended badly.