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PHE E-Cigarette Evidence Review 2018 (Spoiler Alert: They’re Better Than Cigarettes)

A report published recently from Public Health England (PHE), has shown the findings from a review conducted by leading independent tobacco experts and renewed the organisation’s 2015 report. Within the report, there was nothing but good news all around!

The PHE is well known for being involved in campaigning for the use of electronic cigarettes as an effective quitting tool for smokers. PHE have previously released a report in 2015, stating that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking and went on to issue guidelines for employers to support vapers in the workplace.

The report wasn’t shy on information, showing data based on vaping rates among adults and adolescents, the impacts on quitting attempts, the safety of e-cigs based on fire and explosions, levels of risks associated with e-cigs, public attitudes towards e-cigs and a review on the new “Heat not Burn” products.

The following quotes highlight some of the main points from the report:

  • “Vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits”
  • “One assessment of the published data on emissions from cigarettes and e-cigarettes calculated the lifetime cancer risks. It concluded that the cancer potencies of e-cigarettes were largely under 0.5% of the risk of smoking.”
  • “2 studies of biomarker data for acrolein, a potent respiratory irritant, found levels consistent with non-smoking levels.”
  • “To date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders.”
  • “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)”

In 2017, the PHE worked alongside the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) whilst launching their annual Stoptober campaign. Stoptober is a marketing campaign to prompt smokers to quit smoking, 1 of the main methods of quitting is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which is where vaping products play a part.

A lot of respect has to be handed to PHE for calling out some of the misleading “studies” released recently. The PHE have included evidence in the report to show just how false some of the information provided by anti-vaping campaigns can be. Overall the report has provided clear and concise answers to those who have questioned the safety and concerns of vaping and we applaud them for that. ?

One thing that did catch our attention was that they touched on the well known and beloved TPD/TRPR laws which were introduced last year, stating “There are some signs that ways are being found to avoid the law, for example particularly on size of bottles, but evidence is limited”. We haven’t a clue what they’re talking about! ?