Public Health England recently released a joint statement on e-cigarettes; E-Cigarettes: A developing public health consensus. The joint statement brings together 13 public health organisations, including the Royal College of Physicians, Cancer Research UK, and Action on Smoking and Health for a positive, if cautious, consensus on e-cigarettes.
The statement echoes much of what Professor Kevin Fenton of Public Health England stated in his editorial on Huffington Post UK, including that people mistakenly think that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking, and there is a need for clear, concise information in order to educate people on the relative harm of vaping on an ecig versus smoking a cigarette.
Some new information that it offers are that ecigarettes are used ten times as much as local quitting services, but it reinforces that local quitting services have the highest success rates. It also renews a commitment to continue researching the effects of ecigarettes.
Young vapers are predominantly former smokers
The most important information that it offers is the fact that most young people who are vaping are former smokers. Potential vaping among underage teenagers is a flashpoint for e-cigarette opponents, and the evidence doesn’t seem to be bearing out that it is occurring at any kind of rate that would be a concern for public health. The joined public health organisations vow to closely monitor this area, which is good for all of us in that we know it isn’t an issue, and closer scrutiny has already revealed this to be the case.
Tobacco harm reduction is the priority
One in five people in the United Kingdom still smoke. The aim of all of the signatory organisations to the joint statement is to reduce this number, and vaping has been proven to be an effective tool in helping to further this massive public health goal. A report released last year by Action on Smoking and Health, Smoking Still Kills, lays out a framework for reducing smoking rates in the United Kingdom since it still kills around 200 people per day despite numerous measures already taken to reduce smoking rates.
Image Credit: info-electronic-cigarette.com