In 2016, the Tobacco Advisory ground in the UK made a report to the Royal College of Physicians looking into the health ramifications of vaping versus smoking. Their report serves as a crucial piece of evidence in the fight against misinformation about vaping in the media.
According to their research, smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death, disability, and social inequality in the health sector in the UK. Half of all lifelong smokers in the UK die as a direct result of their smoking. That’s not to mention the harm secondhand smoke does to their family members and other people in their lives.
Nicotine and harm reduction
There are many methods to quit smoking, but the problem is that most smokers are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. This nicotine is not strictly harmful, but it ensures that a smoker continues to light up and expose themselves to the carcinogenic and harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
“Harm reduction” is a medical technique that accepts that many smokers will not want to give up their habit, and instead works to reduce the harm brought on by cigarettes to their health and the health of their families.
E-cigarettes as harm reduction for smokers
E-cigarettes are a method of harm reduction for smokers, because they enable the smoker to continue to get their nicotine hit over the long term, without the other harmful chemicals associated with cigarettes.
The 2016 study showed that the hazards of long-term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco. That’s a significant reduction of harm, and only applies to people who continue to vape long after they’ve given up cigarettes.
Regulation and scaremongering
Many medical professionals have been actively discouraging the use of e-cigarettes, calling them dangerous and unregulated and a whole host of other ugly names. One of the big concerns behind these claims is that after all the work over the years to make smoking socially unacceptable, widespread use of e-cigarettes will normalise cigarette smoking again and provide a gateway for younger people.
However, this study demonstrates that the majority of e-cigarette users are choosing to vape because it’s a safer alternative to smoking, or to assist in quitting smoking completely.
The paper stresses the need for regulation to ensure that all e-cigarette brands follow specific safety guidelines. They urge that any regulation would still enable manufacturers like us to develop products that reduce harm and help smokers quit.
They stress how important it is for public health professionals to promote e-cigarettes as an method to help smokers quit or reduce harm.
You can read the full report here and see the board’s recommendations.
Helping people who can’t or won’t quit smoking to reduce the harm to themselves and loved ones is really important to us. It’s why we’re so passionate about e-cigarettes and how they should be promoted as a viable method, instead of vilified in the media. Here’s hoping this report will go a little way toward changing that.