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8 Things To Know About Vaping

Professor Newton, Public Health England, has announced what he considers to be the eight things everybody should know about vaping

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Professor John Newton is the Chief Knowledge Officer for Public Health England (PHE). While PHE has been incredibly supportive of vaping and the use of ecig to reduce tobacco-related harm, public confusion persists. Professor Newton believes there are eight key facts that everybody needs to understand about vaping.

At the outset, Professor Newton reaffirms: “Vaping is not risk free but is far less harmful than smoking. Our advice remains that people who smoke are better to switch completely to vaping but if you have never been a smoker, don’t start to vape.”

Point 1: Vaping and the EVALI lung injuries

“Last August, vapers began to arrive at emergency rooms across the US suffering from serious lung injuries. It was not immediately clear what was behind the outbreak, which led to 68 deaths over the following months.”

“Based partly on the fact that the outbreak affected a very specific population and how the rate of new cases peaked and fell we wrote to the Lancet to explain that a ‘bad batch’ of illicit cannabis vaping products may be to blame.”

“US authorities have since identified vitamin E acetate added to cannabis products as a ‘primary cause’ of the outbreak. Vitamin E acetate is banned from UK regulated nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.”

Point 2: Vaping and heart disease

Calling the Stanton Glantz work a “controversial study”, Newton explains that its conclusion was widely reported – but, “it did not take into consideration that almost all the vapers involved were current or former smokers.”

“A better understanding of the effect of e-cigarettes on the heart is beginning to emerge. A randomised control trial that measured the vascular effects of smokers switching to vaping was published in December with encouraging results. Those who switched to e-cigarettes completely experienced the largest improvement in their vascular health, getting close to the healthy ‘control’. Larger studies with longer follow up will provide greater confidence.”

Point 3: Vaping and relative harm

“The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that the available evidence suggests e-cigarettes are ‘far less harmful’ than conventional smoking.”

“Public Health England’s 2015 independent evidence report, concluded that: ‘While vaping may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and the chemicals which are present pose limited danger’.”

Point 4: Nicotine

“Four out of 10 smokers and ex-smokers wrongly think nicotine causes most of the smoking-related cancers, when evidence shows nicotine actually carries minimal risk of harm to health.”

Point 5: Vaping works

“A major UK clinical trial was published in February 2019. Involving nearly 900 participants, it found that in Local Stop Smoking Services, a standard e-cigarette was twice as effective at helping smokers to quit compared with the quitters’ choice of combination nicotine replacement therapy.”

“A separate study from UCL found that e-cigarettes helped an additional 50-70,000 smokers in England to quit in a single year.”

Point 6: No second-hand vape harm

“Unlike cigarettes, there is no side-stream vapour emitted by an e-cigarette into the atmosphere, just the exhaled aerosol. Our 2018 report found there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders and our 2022 report will review the evidence again.”

Point 7: No teen gateway to smoking

“Our latest report found no evidence to support concern that e-cigarettes are increasing youth smoking. UK surveys show that young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, but regular use is rare and confined almost entirely to those who already smoke.”

“Smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to decline. Concerns that e-cigarettes might be ‘renormalising smoking’ were addressed in a 2019 study [link].”

Point 8: Regulation

“The UK has well established regulation for e-cigarettes. E-cigarette products are subject to minimum standards of quality and safety, as well as packaging and labelling requirements to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices.”

“Advertising is tightly restricted, and all products must be notified by manufacturers with detailed information to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which prohibits certain ingredients.”

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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