Government report says e-cigarettes can help smokers quit
According to a government report, e-cigarettes can help smokers quit.
A government report has found e-cigarettes are safer than smoked tobacco and that they can help smokers quit - great news for vaping enthusiasts and smokers who are health-conscious but reluctant to give up the habit.
An independent review of the latest evidence commissioned by Public Health England, an agency of the UK Government’s Department of Health, was published in August 2015. It examined the benefits of e-cigarettes when compared to tobacco smoking, and looked at the perception, challenges and risks associated with vaping.
Vaping is 95% safer than smoking
The Public Health England report found that about one in 20 adults in Great Britain now use e-cigs, and that this figure is made up almost entirely of smokers and ex-smokers.
The report looked at the main concerns that people have about electronic cigarettes, many of which are reported in the press. They found that concerns were that vaping would re-normalise smoking, would reduce the chance of people being able to successfully quit, and that vaping could act as a gateway to smoking for non-smokers, like teens.
However, when they looked into the figures behind smoking cessation rates and the number of people vaping, they found that smoking has declined in both adults and youths, while rates of use of electronic cigarettes have gone up. They deduced that on the contrary to normalising smoking, e-cigs may be helping to reduce smoking rates, and are actually helping people quit. They also examined the ‘gateway’ theory, and concluded that it was a concern without any evidence to back it up.
Something that the report noted was that there has been a recent, inaccurate shift in the public perception of electronic cigarettes, in which some people mistakenly believe that vaping can be at least as harmful as cigarettes to their health. They put this belief down to two poorly reported research papers. The Public Health England report examined major research findings and concluded that vaping is around 95% safer than smoking, as most of the chemicals which cause smoking related diseases are not present in e-cigs.
It also looked at the levels of nicotine released by e-cigarettes in vape clouds, and found that there were no identifiable health risks to bystanders, unlike the dangerous side-effects of second-hand cigarette smoke.
E-cigs are an effective stop smoking aid
Some health trusts and prisons have discouraged or prohibited use of electronic cigarettes, and occasionally health workers dissuade people who want to stop smoking from using them. The Public Health England report concluded that e-cigs should not be treated like tobacco smoking, and that it was not appropriate for vaping to be forbidden in this way.
Data used in the report showed that electronic cigarettes have become the most common stop smoking aid in England, and it recommended that advice and support be given to people to use with their e-cig, so they could stop smoking successfully.
The report also examined the inequalities of tobacco smoking, and looked at how vaping can even things out. Smoking is far more common among disadvantaged groups and people with low incomes, but it’s an expensive, toxic nicotine delivery system. On the other hand, e-cigarettes, the report states, are low cost, easy to purchase, and offer a ‘clean’ nicotine delivery system. This could improve health among deprived groups in society and have a real impact on this inequality.
The report recommended that e-cigs should not be regulated more strictly than cigarettes, as it concluded that the field should be able to compete against the tobacco industry.
In short, the report showed that vaping is safe, cheap, and an excellent aid for people who want to stop smoking tobacco.