The PHE is renowned for being actively involved in campaigning for the use of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. In fact following the release of a 2015 report indicating that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, the organization had even issued guidelines for employers urging them to support vapers at their workplaces.
This newly released report includes data related to vaping rates amongst adults and adolescents, public attitudes towards e-cigarettes, the impact on smoking cessation attempts, the levels of risk of e-cigarettes and also a review on Heat not Burn (HnB) products.
The main findings of the evidence review
The main points of the report are as follows :
- “vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits
- e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more
- e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country
- many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette
- there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine)
- the use of e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued over the last few years at just under 3 million
- the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people (youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline, regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked)”
Smokers need to be informed about the relative safety of vaping
Director for Health Improvement at PHE, Professor John Newton, pointed out that having such high smoke-related death rates, it is important that smokers are informed about the relatively low risks associated with vaping vs smoking.
“Every minute someone is admitted to hospital from smoking, with around 79,000 deaths a year in England alone. 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.” said Newton. “Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know. 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.” he added.
In October 2017, the PHE teamed up with the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) in launching the Stoptober campaign, which offered smokers a number of suggestions to quit, and highly recommended the combination of behavioral support and the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs), amongst which vaping products. Last month, the two organizations teamed up again making e-cigarettes a key focus in their latest campaign that encourages smokers to attempt quitting with the help of electronic cigarettes.
Read Further: Gov.UK