Professor Bauld opened her talk by addressing the current state of tobacco smoking in the UK, mentioning that the current goal of bringing combustible use down to 5 per cent by 2034. The problem is, of course, that while cigarette smoking is on the decline, the rate is simply not currently quick enough to achieve that goal.
And that’s where eletronic cigarettes come in, she says. While she does call them ‘controversial’, and explains that we only have a small number of years to judge them by, her argument is largely very positive.
Explaining the ingredients in an e-cigarette, she explains that these devices do provide some toxicants that you would find in combustibles, however they are at “far, far lower levels”, and that they are both safer, and that the vapour is not “harmful to bystanders in the way that tobacco second-hand smoke is”.
Simply put, she argues that the evidence just is no sufficient for blanket bans on these products, as some regulatory bodies and groups around the world are suggesting. Instead, she urges groups to invest in further studies such as those by Cancer Research UK.
When the goal is to move as many people off tobacco cigarettes as possible (which we know to be the number one cause of preventable cancer), then we should be encouraging any form of smoking cessation that works for smokers – namely, electronic cigarettes.
As she clearly points out, any kind of ban on the public use of vaping products will send the message that e-cigs may be on par with tobacco in terms of being able to severely damage your health. As it stands, more than a third of smokers who are trying to quit are using e-cigs, making it the current most popular form of smoking cessation.
You can also watch the full video, including Professor Bauld’s discussion of vaping products and taxation, and the potential for children to become involved with e-cigarette use to learn more.