The report from Public Health England is highly significant. A major health body has concluded after research that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes. PHE is an executive agency sponsored by the Department of Health. It asked a team of experts to conduct an independent review of the evidence, and the findings are unequivocal.
They conclude there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to lead children or non-smokers into smoking. On the contrary, they find that almost all of the 2.6 million vapers in Britain are current or ex-smokers using e-cigarettes to help them quit or to keep them from reverting.
They found that increasing numbers, now nearly half the population, believe that vaping is as harmful or more harmful than are cigarettes, even though it is estimated to be only up to 5% as harmful. This could be because the anti-vapers trying to have it banned indoors or in public places have persuaded them that it is harmful. The report makes a telling estimate:
At the moment, 80,000 people [in England] die every year as a result of cigarette smoking. If everybody who was smoking switched to e-cigarettes that would reduce to about 4,000 deaths a year. That's the best estimate at the moment. It may well be much, much lower than that.
It also makes it plain that e-cigarettes are an effective means of helping people to quit. Those who oppose vaping because "it looks like smoking" are missing the point. It is probably because it resembles smoking that it works. Users put it with their hands to their mouth and produce vapour that looks like smoke, while giving them the nicotine kick. They don't have to quit doing any of this, but the harmful cigarette smoke with its tars and noxious gases is absent.
The report suggests that e-cigarettes are a "game changer" in public health. It is interesting that many of the big tobacco companies have bought e-cigarette companies, clearly spotting where the future is going. There will be some who campaign against the acceptability of vaping because they claim it normalizes smoking. This is not only silly, but threatens the most effective method to help smokers to quit. It is not smoking that e-cigarettes normalize; they normalize giving up smoking.
Image credit to: www.vaping360.com