The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) welcomes the publication of ‘E-cigarettes: an evidence update’, a report commissioned by Public Health England, and we also welcome the extensive guidance and advice which arises from it.
The report, with its focus on the best available evidence and authored by Professor Ann McNeil (Kings College London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University London) will help counter much of the misinformation generated in the media by previous poorly designed studies, and by those with a prohibitionist agenda, which has lead to confusion and fear in the public mind as to the relative safety of these products. This has no doubt discouraged many smokers from switching to the safer products, and encouraged overly restrictive policies among employers and other decision makers to the detriment of the health of the smokers who might otherwise have benefitted.
Sarah Jakes – Secretary of the New Nicotine Alliance – says ‘This report confirms the weight of scientific evidence, and the experience of millions of consumers – that e-cigarettes save lives. The message is clear – e-cigarettes help people exit from smoking’.
The report concludes that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. It highlights concerns that an increasingly large number of people incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking, and that almost half the population do not realise that in fact e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking. It also finds that there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route to smoking for children or non smokers.
Prof Gerry Stimson – Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London commented that ‘Public Health England is taking the global lead in seeing the value of e-cigarettes to reduce the toll from smoking. It’s time for an end to scaremongering and for public health leaders – in the UK and globally – to support this consumer-led solution to a pressing public health issue.’
Based on the findings of the review PHE has issued wide ranging advice including that:
- E-cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit smoking and carry a fraction of the risk
- E-cigarettes offer a wide reach, low cost intervention to reduce smoking in deprived groups and those with mental health problems
PHE has also called on local stop smoking services to engage actively with smokers who want to quit by using e-cigarettes, and for health and social care providers to provide accurate information on the relative risks of smoking and vaping.