Over 20 organisations have signed up to the consensus statement released by the NHS, amongst which the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK. Following the report released last year by Public Health England (PHE), famously saying that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, the UK has endorsed e-cigarettes, a move which has led to the country reporting the lowest smoking rates ever recorded.
Infact, an observational study conducted last year by the University College London confirmed a positive link between the use of vaporizers and success in quitting tobacco cigarettes, attributing a drop of about 18,000 smokers to vaping.
However an average of nine million people in the UK are still smoking and health officials made it a point to remind that if one uses the devices whilst still smoking, they are not gaining any health benefits.
E-cigs : not completely harmless, but significantly safer than cigarettes
“E-cigarettes have been around for a number of years now and we are learning more and more about them but I think it is safe to say that they are a lot safer than cigarettes,” said Director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, Dr Andrew Fraser.
“If we are trying to help people make a decision about giving up smoking tobacco then e-cigarettes are a good option to consider,” he added, whilst urging people who provide smoking cessation services to suggest e-cigarettes as cessation aides.
Dr. Fraser said that it is important to make it a point that the devices are not completely risk free, however they are certainly not as harmful as regular cigarettes. “They contain nicotine, which is addictive in itself, and they contain and a number of other combustible materials,” he said. “But if you take it all in the round and compare it with the alternative they are a lot less harmful than cigarettes.”
Scotland aims for ‘Smoke-free Generation’ by 2034
Scotland is aiming to become smoke-free by 2034. The University of Edinburgh and NHS Health Scotland, have recently carried out an inquiry to determine whether efforts to reduce smoking are working, and the data collected indicates that the local tobacco control strategy is working.
Additionally, a Scottish health survey carried out in 2015 indicated that the number of vapers had increased to 7% of the Scottish population from 5% in 2014, whilst the number of smokers had dropped to 21%, from 28% in 2003. These figures are in line with those reported in England where the number of smokers has dropped to 16.9%, due to the popularity of electronic cigarettes.
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