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“95 per cent safer” claim not valid

09 Jan 2020. An editorial published in the American Journal of Public Health has disputed the frequently used claim that e-cigarettes are “95 per cent less harmful” than combustible cigarettes, reports the Medical Xpress.

Six leading experts on e-cigarettes and public health re-examined the “95 per cent safer” claim in the editorial, calling it unreliable information that had been repeated so often that it has become accepted as a fact.

One of the experts, Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University, said, “It's important to understand the "95% safer" claim is bogus, because it continues to be cited as a reason to start or continue vaping.”

The claim first emerged in July 2013 when experts in medicine, toxicology and public health areas rated the relative harm of different nicotine-containing products and concluded that combustible cigarettes were most harmful and e-cigarettes least harmful, according to the Medical Xpress.

Eisenberg says that the new editorial’s biggest takeaway is that the long-term risks of e-cigarette use simply isn’t known. “We've been studying combustible cigarettes for the last 60 to 70 years. And so we have a huge database with which we can look at how many people die from that behaviour," he says. "We don't have anything near that kind of history with electronic cigarettes.”