The UK’s independent review (Khan Review) into tobacco control has been completed, the report published, and almost everyone celebrated the support it gives to UK e-liquids and vaping.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care ordered an independent review of tobacco control policy in the United Kingdom. It was carried out by Javed Khan OBE, and he published his findings last week. Although there are a couple of areas of concern, the independent review is largely supportive of e-cigs and vaping as a leading method of smoking cessation.
Where Can I Read The Report?
The Khan review: making smoking obsolete:
What Did Javed Khan Say?
“The Government must embrace the promotion of vaping as an effective tool to help people quit smoking tobacco. We know that vaping is an extremely effective quit tool. We need to do more to promote its use in quitting, while also doing more to protect children and young people from starting to vape.”
What Recommendations Are There For Electronic Cigarettes?
Javed Khan delivered 15 Recommendations
Of these, he highlighted the four key ones – one of which is about UK e-cigs and e-liquid.
The government must urgently increase the “promotion of vapes as an effective ‘swap to stop’ tool to help people quit smoking”.
Khan believes the warnings on vape product packs need to be changed and that illegal disposable vapes need to be attacked through increased funding to Trading Standards authorities across the UK, more so in troublesome areas.
Another “must-do” is the improved education of health professionals to combat misunderstanding about vaping’s relative risk – estimated as “at least 95% safer than smoking” by Public Health England (now the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities).
What Did Tobacco Controllers Say?
Action on Smoking and Health’s Deborah Arnott called the report “an ambitious vision”.
Cancer Research UK’s Michelle Mitchell said, “this review provides the government with the steps needed to close the health inequality gap and make smoking obsolete,” and said the government must implement all of the recommendations (including the ones about e-cigs).
President of the Association of Directors of Public Health Jim McManus added: “Implementing these recommendations provides us with a generational opportunity”.
How Did Industry Respond?
The UK Vaping Industry Association called the review a “huge step forward for tobacco harm reduction”.
The Association told Javed Khan in its evidence submission that vaping is “the number one tool to help people quit smoking for good”. It said that e-cigs should be one of the central planks for the levelling up agenda in the UK, and this would get the government’s smoke-free 2030 goal “back on track”.
How Did Harm Reduction Experts Respond?
Professor Peter Hajek, the author of the outstanding study showing vaping works three times better than NRT gums and patches, said: “The key innovation is the recommendation that smokers are actively encouraged to switch to vaping.”
He added that this would mean the end of smoking over the next decade.
Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, lead for the gold standard Cochrane Reviews, added: “The report recommends offering vaping as a substitute for smoking as a critical intervention. Though not risk-free, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that nicotine e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than smoking. A growing body of evidence shows that nicotine e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking.”
Professor Jamie Brown conducts monthly data gathering on tobacco and e-cig use in England. He stated: “I strongly support the recommendations and comprehensive approach…offering vaping as a substitute for smoking. Now is the time for the government to act on these bold new proposals.”
How Did Labour Respond?
The Conservative Party has broadly supported vaping, but the possibility that Labour might gain office means it is important to know where they stand.
Shadow Minister for Public Health Andrew Gwynne welcomed the review and said Labour would push the government to implement all of its recommendations – which is great news for vapers, smokers and the UK e-liquid and e-cigarette industry.
Summing up, this was a key moment for UK e-liquid and vape products. The review supported the undeniable independent evidence for vaping’s relative safety and efficacy. Hopefully, now the media can focus on factual stories instead of sharing misperceptions and half-truths from the United States.