Created in 2013, Public Health England (PHE) was an executive agency of the UK’s Department of Health. Its objective was simple: to protect and improve the health and well-being of the nation, and to reduce inequalities in healthcare.
To achieve this, the agency was tasked with:
- Making the lives of the country’s inhabitants healthier, notably by advising the government and supporting its campaigns and measures.
- Protecting the nation from public health risks.
- Preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.
- Improving the health of the population by sharing its experience and expertise.
- Helping the authorities to plan and deliver healthcare and social services.
- Researching, collecting and analysing data to better understand public health challenges.
When it came to e-cigarettes, PHE distinguished itself specifically by commissioning a range of scientific reports on the risks involved in vaping. These reports had a direct impact on the British government’s stance on the subject, which remains that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
In August 2020, Public Health England was merged with the NHS Test and Trace scheme and the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) to form a new body under one banner, called the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP).
Good to know
The fact that the UK government is so open to vaping today is largely due to the work Public Health England started in 2015.