PHE Report – Further Reactions

Posted 9th March 2020 by Dave Cross
Public Health England (PHE) released the annual update to its 2015 vaping evidence review last week, as tasked by the government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England. The sixth report was looked at the prevalence of vaping among young people and adults, reviewed research on vaping among pregnant women, and looked at vaping for people with mental health conditions. It was warmly welcomed; here we present further reactions to the document.

British Lung Foundation

Rachael Hodges, senior policy officer at the British Lung Foundation, said: “We welcome this review from Public Health England and the ongoing research into the use of e-cigarettes. It’s discouraging to see that over half of smokers now believe nicotine vaping products are equally or more harmful than smoking, especially when smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK.

“E-cigarettes can be an effective way for people to quit smoking when used alongside behavioural support, and have a key role to play in achieving the government target of ending smoking in England by 2030.”

“We must continue to monitor use amongst young people and ensure proof of age at sale of vaping products is better enforced. We also welcome the proposal for more research into vaping amongst people with mental health conditions and pregnant smokers. What’s clear from this review is that there is no evidence that anyone would be better off smoking than vaping.”

This statement is very welcome considering the American Lung Association is currently spreading lies about vaping and tobacco harm reduction.

Linda Bauld talks about the report on Regulator Watch

British American Tobacco

The report was welcomed by British American Tobacco UK Ltd, which “acknowledges the crucial role that vaping is playing in helping smokers make the switch away from tobacco.”

BAT says: “In its newly released report, the UK's leading public health and research body Public Health England, say that the ‘false fears’ about vaping are stopping millions of smokers from switching to e- cigarettes.”

BAT UK says it hopes that the research commissioned by Public Health England will help to dispel some of the widespread myths around vaping and encourage more smokers to make the switch to smoke-free alternative nicotine products.

Fredrik Svensson, BAT’s General Manager for UK and Ireland, said: “It is deeply worrying that over half of smokers think that vaping is as harmful - or more harmful - than smoking. The scientific evidence shows that this is not the case, and public bodies such as PHE, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians have endorsed vaping as a less harmful alternative to tobacco."


The release of the PHE report was timely for Kiwi vapers and vape businesses as the New Zealand Parliament are due to cover the first reading of their bill to regulate vaping on Tuesday.

The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) said: “Released this week, the report concludes vaping in the UK is almost exclusively confined to smokers and ex-smokers, and any fears about vaping have not been realised. The UK’s progressive and pragmatic policy on vaping is a timely reminder to our legislators that sensible regulation can improve public health. In the UK smoking rates continue to decline rapidly, and our Parliament needs to reflect on just how that’s being achieved.”

Jonathan Devery, spokesperson for VTANZ, said the NZ Government’s plan to limit the availability of flavours to mint, menthol and tobacco, outside of licensed vape stores, risks smoking rates rising again.

“The UK report highlights how much adults love flavours, how they’re key to smokers quitting tobacco, and how fruit is easily the most preferred flavour among adults. When quizzed, a worrying of number UK vapers say if flavours were banned, they’d source them illicitly while others would return to smoking. Hence, the UK Government won’t be banning flavours anytime soon!”

“Vaping advertising in the UK is heavily restricted, closely monitored, and clearly enforced. A similar regime could be easily implemented in New Zealand that protects young people yet allows the industry to promote vaping as a smoking cessation tool for adults,” Devery added.


  • Tobacco Control Plan for England Tobacco – [link]
  • PHE Evidence Update PDF – [link]
  • PHE Update Vaping Evidence, POTV – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker