Public Health England says, “E-Cigs 95% safer than traditional tobacco
Wherever you go today you will find someone vaping and while the US and large city governments are busy banning electronic cigarettes because they don’t know enough about them, the English government released a report that says electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco.
- The key findings in the review are these:
- E-cigs are 95% less harmful than smoking
- 44% of the population has no idea that e-cigs are less harmful than traditional tobacco
- There is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking for children
Public Health England commissioned the review which also suggests that a decline in smoking traditional tobacco products (for both children and adults) is related to the use of electronic cigarettes.
Professor Ann McNeill of King’s College London and Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University of London led the review which also found that e-cigs were being used by nearly 3 million adults to keep them from using traditional tobacco products. The review also finds that very few adults or young children (less than 1% in each group) who have never smoked traditional tobacco products are using e-cigs regularly.
The review raises concerns that many people believe that electronic cigarettes are as or more damaging to one’s health than smoking traditional tobacco products.
Governments treating electronic cigarettes with the same caution as traditional tobacco products, all because e-cigarettes are virtually new to the market, may be deterring people from trying to quit, even though all current evidence finds that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Well being at Public Health England said, “Smoking remains England’s number one killer and the best thing a smoker can do is to quit completely, now and forever. E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm. The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting. Local stop smoking services should look to support e-cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert in cancer prevention, said, “Fears that e-cigarettes have made smoking seem normal again or even led to people taking up tobacco smoking are not so far being realised based on the evidence assessed by this important independent review. In fact, the overall evidence points to e-cigarettes actually helping people to give up smoking tobacco. Free Stop Smoking Services remain the most effective way for people to quit but we recognise the potential benefits for e-cigarettes in helping large numbers of people move away from tobacco. Cancer Research UK is funding more research to deal with the unanswered questions around these products including the longer-term impact.