In short no… when compared to their combustable counterparts (cigarettes) no, definitely not.
There are estimated to be about 2.9 million people in the UK who use e-cigarettes and more than half of them have given up smoking traditional tobacco.
Other research for Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than normal cigarettes.
However, about nine million people still smoke in the UK despite the rise in e-cigarette use since 2012.
Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, has stated: “E-cigarettes have been around for a number of years now and we are learning more and more about them but I think it is safe to say that they are a lot safer than cigarettes.
“If we are trying to help people make a decision about giving up smoking tobacco then e-cigarettes are a good option to consider.”
Dr Fraser said vaping was not available on NHS prescription, unlike some other treatments, but it was an option for those trying to give up smoking cigarettes.
“We would encourage people to consider them and we would encourage people providing smoking cessation serves to offer them as an option to people who are willing to pay for them,” he said
Dr Fraser said he wanted to deliver a “positive” message for e-cigs, saying they “weren’t anything like as dangerous as cigarettes”.
He said there had been reports that likened the risk of vaping to smoking tobacco but this was not the case.
However, he added that e-cigarettes were not risk free.
“They contain nicotine, which is addictive in itself, and they contain and a number of other combustible materials,” Dr Fraser said.
“But if you take it all in the round and compare it with the alternative they are a lot less harmful than cigarettes.”
He added that ideally vaping would be used a way to give up smoking entirely and he advised against “double running” – taking both tobacco and e-cigarettes.
Last year, Scotland’s largest health board ruled that e-cigarettes could be used within the grounds of its hospitals.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde decided to allow restricted use of the devices after new evidence that they helped tackle tobacco smoking.
Tobacco smoking was banned across all health grounds in Scotland in April 2015, but health boards were given discretion over the use of vaping devices outside buildings.
However the singular, and consistent argument regarding the ‘negative’ effects of vaping always centre around the Nicotine content of the products. the delivery method and those still using 0% nicotine to satisfy the habitual issues when coming off smoking is almost void.
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