Public Health England (PHE), one of the best sources for well researched, factual information on vaping, have released a new blog post alongside their annual evidence-based review on e-cigarettes. The post has been written by John Newton, a supporter of vaping who is keen to promote facts about e-cigarettes and debunk the dodgy research, myths and hearsay that surround vaping.
The post begins with PHE's key piece of advice on vaping;
"Vaping is not risk free but is far less harmful than smoking. Our advice remains that people who smoke are better to switch completely to vaping but if you have never been a smoker, don't start to vape."
If you wish to read the full article, please follow this link. Below, we summarise the key points.
No 1. The US Vaping Scare
The first section focuses on the events last year in the US when vapers started suffering from serious lung injuries. It is believed 68 people died with several thousand more reporting problems. At the time, it wasn't known what caused the lung injuries and authorities around the world started removing vaping products from the shelves.
As we have covered in our blog 'The US Vaping Scare – What we now Know' the health problems were caused by Vitamin E acetate. This is often used as a thickening agent in e-liquids that contact tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound found in marijuana that produces the ‘high’.
The PHE blog confirms that 'Vitamin E acetate is banned from UK regulated nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.'
No 2. Vaping and Heart Disease
In June 2019, a controversial study was released by a team of high profile US academics. The study found that people using e-cigarettes regularly had the same risk of heart disease as smokers. The report was picked up extensively by the mainstream media and has so far has generated 57 news stories from 41 outlets.
In February 2020 the study was retracted. This occurs when the information it presents is inaccurate, and the findings can't be trusted. In the case of this paper, the authors didn't take into account that nearly all the vapers included in the study were also former smokers.
Several more studies are looking at this specific area are currently running. The results, so far, are encouraging and show that smokers who switch completely to vaping have significant improvements in their vascular health.
No 3. Vaping V's Smoking
In England, only 33% of the population know that vaping is much less harmful than smoking. This is despite the UK Government's official advice published by Public Health England where they state; "While vaping may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and the chemicals which are present pose limited danger."
Public Health England has recently commissioned it's most in-depth and far-reaching report into e-cigarettes. The report, which will be published in 2022, will include PHE and international experts in what will be a thorough assessment of vaping that will include health and safety.
No 4. The Truth About Nicotine
Nearly half of smokers and ex-smokers believe that Nicotine is the most dangerous element in cigarettes and is responsible for the majority of smoking-related cancers. As we've covered in a previous blog 'How Harmful in Nicotine to the Human Body', this simply isn't true.
Nicotine is highly addictive and is the reason people become hooked on smoking. However, it is the thousands of other chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer, not Nicotine.
This is one of the many reasons why e-cigarettes are so effective at helping smokers quit traditional cigarettes. When vaping, a user will still be able to get their nicotine 'hit' that they crave from cigarettes. What e-cigarettes don't have is the cancer causing chemicals. Therefore, from a health perspective, e-cigarettes are a far better option.
No 5. Quitting Traditional Cigarettes
Another point we've covered in our blog is how effective vaping is at helping people quit smoking. A large study published in 2019, found that e-cigarettes were twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), such as patches or gum, at helping smokers quit.
A study by UCL and funded by Cancer Research UK found that in 2017 alone between 50,000 and 70,000 people quit smoking that would otherwise have continued thanks to vaping.
No 6. The Effect of Vaping on Bystanders
The report explains the dangers to bystanders of second-hand smoke from cigarettes. The UK, like much of the world, has laws in place prohibiting smoking in enclosed spaces and workplaces.
To date, there has been no evidence found to suggest that e-cigarettes pose any risk to bystanders. The PHE will review this as part of their 2022 comprehensive study.
UK laws on smoking do not extend to vaping. Businesses and organisations are free to implement there own vaping policies in the manner that best suits their needs.
No 7. Vaping and Young People
One of the most frequent criticisms levelled against e-cigarettes by anti-vaping organisations is that vaping is a gateway to smoking. Critics believe that young people will start vaping and will then progress onto traditional cigarettes.
The PHE has found no evidence to support these claims and that regular e-cigarette usage is nearly entirely limited to those who already smoke. The PHE also note that smoking rates in young people have been on a steady decline for many years. The introduction of e-cigarettes has not affected this trend.
No 8. Regulation
Since the Tobacco Product Directive was introduced in 2016, e-cigarettes and related products such as e-liquids are subject to minimum standards of quality and safety. Manufacturers must provide clear guidance to consumers in the form of labels and information leaflets. All new product being released onto the market must first be approved for sale by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.