It is with great satisfaction that we read this new report from a source so widely respected as the Royal College of Physicians*. The past two years have seen a slew of ill-considered and poorly conducted research hit the headlines regarding vaping and there can be no doubt that the perception of both smokers and non-smokers will have been impacted regards the relative harms of vaping vs smoking. This report should go some-way to redressing that balance as it makes clear that the benefits of e-cigarette use has not only been positive but has helped many smokers move away from combustible cigarettes. More importantly that smokers have done this under their own steam and without intervention or cost to the tax-payer.
We hope that Public Health organisations and governments across the globe will see this, alongside last year’s Public Health England report, and use it to inform their treatment of e-cigarettes and recognise the importance of treating them as different from their burnt counterparts. In the UK alone there are 9 million smokers who deserve to be told the truth about alternative nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes. Trustee and board member, Lorien Jollye says ‘The evidence is quite clearly telling us that not only are e-cigs safer than smoking but they are helping smokers. Knee-jerk fearmongering has to be put to bed and smokers need to be empowered to switch’.
With the implementation of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive looming, it is imperative that moves are made to see a review of this legislation enacted as soon as is possible. It is becoming more and more clear that the heavy restrictions on devices, nicotine strengths, and the ability for companies to actually market to their target audience is going to cost lives. This is far from the ‘light touch regulation’ the public was told it was.
The RCP report is unequivocal in its support for smokers being encouraged to switch their habit to one which carries, at most, a mere 5% of the risk. On a subject as serious as this we need to be guided by evidence and not ideology and as such The New Nicotine Alliance applauds the RCP for this timely review.
*Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. Nicotine without smoke—tobacco harm reduction. Royal College of Physicians, 2016.