Last week there was a flurry of articles in the press claiming that vaping kills human cells. The revelations came as the result of a study carried out to see whether cells would be damaged or killed if they were exposed to e-cigarette vapour.The results of the study were revealed in the Journal of Oral Oncology. According to reports, nicotine vapours had the potential to damage cells exposed to them. Some cells died as a result. Nicotine-free vapours from e-cigarettes also exhibited a greater possibility of dying, according to the research.“Inconclusive”If we take this news as is, we could suppose that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking. But let’s hold on just a moment. Firstly, even the authors of the study have said it is inconclusive, i.e. we can’t really rely on the results. Secondly, words and phrases such as ‘could be’ and ‘may be’ were used in describing the results. In other words, the vapours may be harmful, but we’re really not sure. Lots more research needs to be done to make sure we know exactly where vaping stands in the scheme of things.Many people have also pointed out that the research did not compare cell death from regular cigarette smoke to the results gleaned from e-cigarette smoke. The conclusions drawn from the study seem to indicate there is a greater chance of cell death if you vape than if you don’t. But what about comparing those results with cell death caused by real smoking?After all, how many people do you know who have never smoked in their life and suddenly decide they’ll take up vaping? I don’t know of anyone, and nor does anyone else I know. Vaping is pretty much exclusively chosen by those who smoked in the past, and want to give up. They use vaping as a method to help them do this.How safe is vaping?Let’s be clear here. The ideal thing is never to smoke in the first place. We all know it’s not good for our health. But if you do smoke and you’ve tried and failed to go cold turkey, surely switching to e-cigarettes would be a good option to try?Think about nicotine patches for a moment. People have used these for ages, recommended by their GPs and other quit smoking services, to help wean them off the nicotine in their cigarettes. If you have the willpower to quit without any help at all, more power to you. Yet most people want and need some help.Most people are sensible enough to realise that some vaping liquids have nicotine in them. Some don’t. However, if you’re taking in far less nicotine than you were when you were smoking, surely that’s a step in the right direction at the end of the day?Even if e-cigarettes are eventually found to have a degree of risk associated with them, this risk could be far less than that associated with cigarettes. The ideal situation will probably be to quit smoking and start vaping, and eventually to quit that too. But until we know more, it is impossible to speculate on the results of this one narrow study alone. It provides food for thought, certainly, but that’s about it. More controlled, in-depth studies are needed before we can announce that vaping is bad for your health. When compared to cigarettes and the damage they can do, this kind of kneejerk statement could end up doing more harm than good in itself.What are your thoughts on the safety of vaping – and its relative safety when compared to smoking?