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Friday, June 14, 2024

Vapes less harmful than cigarettes—UK group

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Scientific evidence presented by a leading United Kingdom group championing tobacco harm reduction shows that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.

“The evidence says while vaping is not entirely risk-free, it is significantly less harmful than smoking – which claims around 80,000 lives every year in the UK alone,” the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) said in a statement.

The UKVIA published its report after industry and vapers were not invited to speak as part of the committee stage of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill held by the UK Parliament to tackle proposed amendments.

No less than the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) maintains “vapes are at least 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes”, according to the UKVIA.

It said vapes pose a “small fraction of the risks of smoking” and that “switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits over continued smoking.”

It also quoted the Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Chris Whitty, who acknowledged that vaping is “much safer” than smoking, saying that making the switch is a “positive health move.”

Research conducted by Brunel University London concluded that the National Health Service “could save more than half a billion pounds per year if just half of England’s adult smokers switched to vaping,” the report added.

A 2019 investigation about reports that vaping had caused an outbreak of lung illness in the US found that the cases were not caused by using legal nicotine vaping products, but rather by contaminated, illegal products containing tetrahydrocannabinol or THC—the component in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects.

Alice Davies, Health Information Officer at Cancer Research UK previously said: “Headlines can be misleading as these cases were due to contaminants in illegal products and not linked to regular nicotine vaping. There was no similar outbreak in the UK and the chemicals of concern are banned in the UK.”

According to the OHID Nicotine Vaping in England: Evidence Update, there were “lessons to be learnt from the mislabeled US EVALI [electronic cigarette or vape associated lung injury] outbreak’ and that ‘communications about EVALI should clearly separate vaping these illicit substances from nicotine vaping.”

The Cancer Research UK confirmed that “there have been no confirmed cases of popcorn lung reported in people who use e-cigarettes” and that vapes don’t cause the lung injury.

The UKVIA cited the latest data from Action on Smoking and Health, a public health charity set up by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, showing that “almost 4.5 million adults in Great Britain have used vaping to cut down on or completely stop smoking.”

It said no less than the NHS maintains that vaping is “one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking”, while the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities reports that vaping products “remain the most common aid used by people to help them quit”.

James Tucker, head of Health Analysis at Office for National Statistics (ONS), was quoted by the report as saying that “vaping has played a ‘major role’ in reducing smoking rates across the UK…which are now at a record low.”

A comprehensive analysis by Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers in health, which looked at data from over 300 clinical trials involving more than 150,000 people, reveals that e-cigarettes are among the most effective aids available to help adult smokers quit.

The UKVIA also denied “the link between regular vaping and moving onto smoking…”

It said the ASH UK, in a dossier ‘Addressing Common Myths About Vaping’ which was reviewed by 16 leading scientists and academics, shows that vaping is not a “proven gateway into smoking”.

“In fact, it is revealed that, as the use of e-cigarettes has grown in England between 2010 and 2021, smoking rates amongst young people ‘continued to fall at least as rapidly as previously’,” it said.

ASH UK said this “does not support the gateway hypothesis at a population level.”

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