The U.K. Government Endorses E-Cigarettes Once More

Thursday, 8th February, 2018 – It’s very clear now. Public Health England (PHE), the executive agency of the United Kingdom’s Department of Health has once again published a new 2018 independent review confirming their public endorsement of e-cigarettes as a significantly beneficial harm reduction alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes:

In 19th August 2015, Public Health England has published a very popular expert independent evidence review – one that was widely covered in the news about e-cigarettes being 95% less harmful than tobacco. They had even issued guidelines for employers to support vapers at their workplaces. This year, they have published yet another compelling major independent review into the evidence of e-cigarettes, confirming the United Kingdom’s firm stance in recommending vaping as a much safer alternative over smoking.

“Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know.” – Professor John Newton, Director for Health Improvement, PHE

As part of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, Public Health England was asked to update its 2015 evidence review on e-cigarettes. The organization commissioned a group of leading tobacco control researchers from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) to produce the report, which underwent international peer review. “The report reflects an up-to-date evidence base that is increasingly pointing in the same direction: not only that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, but also that it is helping increasing numbers of smokers to quit,” a PHE spokesperson said. Public Health England found that because there is little to no difference in the bio-markers of those who smoke and vape compared with cigarette-only smokers, dual users should continue to be encouraged and supported to stop smoking altogether.

In fact, U.K. hospitals are publicly encouraged to offer e-cigarettes for sale and to allow patients to vape indoors within hospital vicinity so patients can be better motivated to quit smoking. Officials urged hospitals to replace smoking shelters with vaping lounges, and said patients should be allowed to vape in their beds especially if they had single rooms.

“Every smoker struggling to quit, including pregnant women, should be encouraged to to take up e-cigarettes.” – Public Health England

“It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.” – Professor John Newton, Director for Health Improvement, PHE

The report by experts from King’s College London and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and the University of Stirling and Cancer Research UK restated previous claims that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, while putting the increased cancer risk at less than 0.5%.

Ann McNeill, lead author and professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London said: “It’s of great concern that smokers still have such a poor understanding about what causes the harm from smoking. When people smoke tobacco cigarettes, they inhale a lethal mix of 7,000 smoke constituents, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. The constituents in tobacco smoke that cause the harm are either absent or at much lower levels in e-cigarettes so we are confident that they are substantially less harmful than cigarette smoking. People smoke for the nicotine, but contrary to what the vast majority believe, nicotine causes little if any of the harm. The toxic smoke is the culprit and is the overwhelming cause of all the tobacco-related disease and death.”

“The past few years has seen a growing and welcome consensus on vaping among the UK health community, with prestigious organisations such as the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of General Practitioners, and British Medical Association all joining in recognition of the public health potential of e-cigarettes. PHE’s new evidence review further strengthens this consensus.

Nonetheless, with many smokers now incorrectly believing vaping is at least as dangerous as smoking, it is clear there is vital work to be done in better communicating these positive messages to the public. For anyone who has struggled to quit smoking, we strongly recommend switching to an e-cigarette as it could substantially improve your chances of success – especially if combined with professional support from your local stop smoking service.” – Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH)

According to Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling, Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and Executive of Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK:

“Overseas, many countries still ban e-cigarettes and using them can result in fines or even imprisonment for vapers or vendors. Yet gradually this is changing. 2017 saw a complete reversal of New Zealand’s position on these devices and their new policies look very similar to those in place in the UK. Canada is also legalising e-cigarettes, although details of the regulatory framework are still being ironed out. These countries are following the research evidence and in time others may follow.

A primary reason for caution in many countries is the fear that vaping will lead to smoking, particularly in young people. This year we did see research suggesting that some teenagers experimenting with vaping go on to smoke when followed up a year later, and this included studies from the UK. There seems little doubt that there are groups of young people susceptible to both. Yet these studies can’t prove that it was the act of trying an e-cigarette that lead to subsequent smoking – many other factors could explain this, including the simple fact that tobacco is still widely available. 2017 saw the publication of the world’s largest study to date of young people and vaping, including over 60,000 teenagers. It found that while experimentation with these products was occurring, regular use by teens who had never smoked remains very low, at less than 1%. Meanwhile in the UK and many other countries like the USA, youth smoking rates continue to decline at an encouraging pace. If vaping was causing smoking, these rates would reverse.”

The evidence keeps piling up: E-cigarettes are definitely safer than smoking, and can help the world to be much better for many more! If you have benefited from this article, or know of friends, family members or acquaintances who can benefit from this news, we at Vapebrothers would like to urge you to please kindly share it as best you can with them and help to raise more awareness for a brighter and healthier future for e-cigarettes worldwide!