Britain’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said on Thursday “E-cigarettes are likely to bring benefits for public health and should be widely promoted to smokers to help them quit tobacco” which has bought some debate.
Their report – Nicotine without smoke – is likely to start more disputes amongst ecigarette haters. The influential British doctors group stressed that tobacco smoking is both addictive and lethal, and concluded that e-cigarettes are “much safer than smoking” and should be made easily available and even promoted by UK public health figures.
“E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking” the Royal College of Physicians said, “and do not lead to the normalization of the habit” – two main issues often cited by people looking to curb or stop ecigarettes sales.
“None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people,” the RCP’s 200-page report said.
Tobacco smoking kills half of all smokers, plus at least another 600,000 people a year non-smokers via second-hand smoke. This makes it the world’s biggest preventable killer, with a predicted death toll of a billion by the end of the century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Linda Bauld, a professor at Stirling University, deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and a co-author of the RCP report, said that unlike tobacco, nicotine does not cause cancer, heart and lung diseases.
“The ideal is for people to use nothing,” she said, but when the alternative is smoking, people should be encouraged to use nicotine “delivered in a cleaner form than in deadly cigarettes”.
“This is what tobacco harm reduction is – it reduces the harm from tobacco while recognizing that some people will still use nicotine in other safer forms.”
John Britton, chair of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group which published the report, acknowledged that e-cigarettes were “a topic of great controversy” but said his group’s analysis “lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products”.
The anti-smoking group ASH UK welcomed the report, saying it showed “that switching to vaping is a positive and sensible life choice” for smokers.
“Electronic cigarette vapor does not contain smoke, which is why vaping is much less harmful,” said Deborah Arnott, ASH’s chief executive.
It seems in 2016 the EU and the UK are seeming to understand that smokers can hugely benefit from ecigarettes and no hinderance should be put on availability, adding these devices to the NHS under prescription. Many falsified “scientific” reports still emerge from around the world regarding the harmful effects of ecigarettes, but at least in the UK the government want ecigarettes to stay and are open minded and factual when researching the improvements smokers are getting with health and their finances.