The latest update from Public Health England (PHE) confirms that vaping works better than nicotine patches and gum as a smoking quit tool and the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey finds there is still no evidence of a problem with teen use in the UK. Experts and advocacy organisations have welcomed the news although the national media has been slow to cover it.
The PHE released its 250-page update looking at vaping last week. The report is the seventh in the series, compiled by a team of academics who work at King’s College London. The team look at all of the new research evidence and see how it should impact their previous findings.
Vaping Helps Smokers Quit Smoking
They discovered that vaping is now the most popular route out of cigarette addiction, and they say fifty thousand smokers each year have managed to quit since 2017 by making the switch. Incredibly, they discovered that quit success rates could be as high as 74% when using vape products alongside support from a Stop Smoking service.
Misinformation Breeds Misunderstanding About Vaping
The downside is that the team also found a growth in the number of people who mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful or more harmful than using tobacco products. PHE repeat that e-cigarettes are far safer than combustible cigarettes or cigars, but 53% of smokers aren’t getting the message.
PHE says that thirty-eight per cent of adult smokers think vaping is as harmful as smoking and that fifteen per cent believe it’s actually more dangerous. PHE’s Professor John Newton said, “vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available” and clarified that fears about vaping are “unfounded”.
“The evidence has been clear for some time that, while not risk-free vaping is far less harmful than smoking,” he continued.
ASH, Vaping and Teens
Launch day also saw the release of the latest findings from the annual ASH survey looking at youth e-cigarette use. Its findings, repeating those of previous years, show that there is no issue of note in this regard.
Over the last five years, almost all teens are either unaware of vaping or have not tried it. Out of the 16.4% who have tried an e-cig, just 1.8% vape on a regular basis. ASH revealed that of those who do vape, 99.3% of them are current or ex-smokers. The findings put pay to any fear that vape products are being marketed at teens, that their use is threatening to become an epidemic, or that e-cigs are leading children into tobacco use.
ASH noted the decline in smoking rates for both adults and teens has occurred at the same time that vaping boomed across the UK, agreeing with the PHE report that vaping has offered a route out of smoking.
The New Nicotine Alliance, Britain’s leading nicotine consumer charity, welcomed all of the findings but was concerned about “the damage that irresponsible anti-harm reductionists are causing”. It believes the PHE/ASH reports both add more weight to the ten post-Brexit changes the charity believes the government can make.