A new Public Health England (PHE) e-cigarettes evidence review, conducted by leading independent tobacco experts, offers the latest update on PHE’s 2015 review.
The report covers the use of e-cigarettes among the youth and adults, public attitudes, the impact on smoking cession, an update on health risks and the role of nicotine. It also reviews heated tobacco products.
The main findings of PHE’s evidence review are:
Vaping poses only a small part of the risks of smoking and switching from smoking to vaping completely has a great many health benefits.
E-cigarettes contribute to at least 20,000 successful new quits each year and probably many more.
The use of e-cigarettes is associated with an increase in the success rate of quitting smoking over the last year and an accelerated decline in the national smoking rates.
Thousands of smokers mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking and about 40 percent of smokers have not even tried e-cigarettes.
The public has much misunderstanding about nicotine. Less than 10 percent of adults know that most of the harms from smoking are not caused by nicotine.
In the past few years, the number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued at just under 3 million.
The evidence does not support people’s concern that e-cigarettes as a gateway into smoking amongst young people. Youth smoking rates in Britain continue to drop, regular use is rare and is almost confined to smokers.
Just a few weeks before PHE’s evidence review, a US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report on e-cigarettes. Their conclusion about the safety of e-cigarettes also finds that based on the existing evidence, e-cigarettes could be far less harmful than cigarettes.
Director for Health Improvement at PHE, Professor John Newton said:”Every minute someone is admitted to hospital because of smoking. In the UK alone, there are about 79,000 deaths per year. Our new review confirms that vaping is a small part of the smoking risk, which is at least 95 percent less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. However, more than half of smokers either mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know. It would be a tragedy if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of e-cigarettes are being put off because of fears about e-cigarettes’ safety.”
Lead author and Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, Professor Ann McNeill, said:” We are very worried that smokers know little about what causes the harm from smoking. When people smoke, they inhale a lethal mix of 7,000 smoke constituents and 70 of them can cause cancer. People smoke for the sake of nicotine, but contrary to what most people think, nicotine causes little if any of the harm. The toxic smoke is the main cause of all the tobacco-related illness and deaths.”
Professor Linda Bauld, author and Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling and Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK, said:”people worry that the use of e-cigarettes will lead to young people smoking. But in Britain, study clearly shows that often use of e-cigarette amongst young people who have never smoked is negligible, which is less than 1 percent, and adolescent smoking continues to drop at an encouraging speed. We need to keep a close eye on these trends, but so far the data suggest that e-cigarettes do not act as a gateway into regular smoking amongst the youth.”
Ryan is a writer, editor and content creator who spends most of his time bringing the interesting, entertaining, original and well-written articles to vapers. He believes that vaping is not only a healthier alternative to smoking, but also a great experience of life.