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The UK Sets An Example

A new study from the Pacific Research Institute points to the United Kingdom as an example of how the U.S.A. should be approaching reduced risk products like vaping

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A new study produced by Roger Bate for the Pacific Research Institute points to the United Kingdom as an example of how the U.S.A. should be approaching reduced risk products like vaping. Bate argues that America should legislate and tax based on the relative risk electronic cigarettes pose.

As the federal government and states such as California consider taxing and imposing new or stricter regulations on vaping products, particularly flavoured products, Roger Bate, Ph.D. finds that there are important lessons U.S. policymakers can learn from the tax and regulatory environment in the U.K.,” says the Pacific Research Institute as it launched its new study.

Roger Bate says: “While the U.K. imposes taxes and regulations based on the relative risk of vaping versus smoking, the U.S. approach focuses on the absolute risks of vaping products alone. Preventing new products denies the ability of people to try new products that could improve their lives or reduce their relative risks. There are risks from vaping, but they are significantly lower compared with smoking.”

The report, ‘VAPING ON TRIAL: A comparison of U.K. and U.S. policies’, is an exposé of the trend for American public health and tobacco control groups to fixate on claimed hypothetical dangers while ignoring the proven benefits and reduced risk delivered by vape products to smokers.

The Pacific Research Institute says Bate, “points to clinical trials using nicotine replacement to stop smoking that found vaping is more successful at driving smoking cessation than other methods. Further, there is scant evidence to support the commonly held view that vaping is a gateway to smoking.

“He cites a JAMA network study that shows the impact United States health organisations’ direction on vaping has had on the physicians who work closely with patients looking to quit smoking. The study found that more than 60 percent of U.S.-based physicians believed all tobacco products – from traditional cigarettes to vaping pens – to be equally harmful. A large majority of United States physicians will not recommend vaping as a harm-reduction strategy to smoking, which is vastly different than the 44% of physicians in the U.K. who recommend it.

“Regarding what seems to be the largest concern regarding vaping, the youth uptick of vape users, physicians in the U.K. were more concerned about likely smoking behaviour if vaping were banned. Dr Bate argues that youth take-up is below ten percent and, crucially, offset by a fall in youth smoking. Vaping can disrupt pathways that lead to smoking, a much more damaging youth risk behaviour.”

The report delivers four recommendations:

  1. Focus on the relative harm and benefits, and deliver evidence-based communication
  2. Taxation should reflect reduced risk and encourage smokers to switch
  3. The FDA should recognise, authorise, and promote vapes as reduced harm products
  4. Bans and restrictions should be rolled back as they encourage ex-smokers to return to tobacco


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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