"Public Health England’s (PHE) sixth independent e-cigarette report, commissioned from researchers at King’s College London, is published today (Wednesday 4 March 2020) alongside new PHE advice on vaping in NHS mental health trusts.
The report provides an update on the use of nicotine vaping products among young people and adults, and public perceptions of the harmfulness of vaping. It also takes an in depth look at the evidence on e-cigarette use in people with mental health conditions and pregnant women.
Current vaping use has remained stable in adults and young people since the last report. Of concern is the increasing number of smokers that now believe vaping is more harmful than smoking. This is out of line with expert reviews from the UK and US concluding that using regulated nicotine vaping products is far less harmful than smoking.
PHE’s advice remains that smokers should switch to e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking, but non-smokers should not take up vaping.
E-cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco but are not completely safe. They contain significantly less harmful chemicals which cause diseases related to smoking but the long-term impact of using e-cigarettes will remain unknown for some time.
The mistaken belief that e-cigarettes are more harmful than smoking increased rapidly among UK smokers following the US lung injury outbreak in autumn 2019. US authorities have now confirmed that vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent added to cannabis vaping products, was a primary cause of the US outbreak. This substance is banned from UK-regulated nicotine vaping products.
The report identifies a need for continued monitoring of public perceptions, as the researchers fear that smokers are being deterred by safety fears from using e-cigarettes to quit, which will ultimately cost lives. The report also warns that a ban on flavoured liquids could also deter some smokers from switching to e-cigarettes completely.
Smokers should continue to be encouraged to try regulated nicotine vaping products along with other stop smoking aids and behavioural support, to increase their chances of successfully stopping smoking."...