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Fields & Applications Environmental

Crowdsourcing Toxicology

The Cloud Chasers explores the fascinating topic of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) through the lens of analytical science. In particular, I was struck by Hugo Destaillats’ comment that vaping is effectively a global toxicology experiment, which presents regulators and organizations with a difficult choice. By banning e-cigarettes, tobacco smokers could be denied a less harmful alternative. (In Japan, where nicotine-containing e-liquids are banned, smokers have turned to ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco products, which could prove more harmful than vaping.) On the other hand, public health bodies in the UK have adopted a positive stance towards vaping, which appears (so far) to offer a less harmful alternative to tobacco smoking – a boon to those who have been unable to quit. That said, normalization of vaping could lead impressionable members of the public to underestimate the risks and see it as an entirely ‘safe’ activity. One thing is clear: there is a desperate need for more and better information on the potential health risks of chemicals of any kind being sucked into our lungs.

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About the Author

Charlotte Barker

After studying biology at Imperial College London, I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals, and have spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine. I joined Texere Publishing in 2014, attracted by the creativity, talent and passion of the team. As Editor of The Analytical Scientist, I help scientists share their stories in vibrant and engaging content that reflects their passion and hard work.

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