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Facts For Dentists

Dentistry website’s 80,000 unique visitors have been addressed by Dr Richard Holliday and Professor Elaine McColl

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Dentistry website claims that 80,000 unique visitors access the online portal each month. The practitioners have been exposed to a number of misleading campaigns about vaping recently, fortunately Dr Richard Holliday and Professor Elaine McColl address this with a fact and evidence-based article aimed at clearing up misconceptions.

Recently, hospital consultant Nick Hopkinson told journalists: "Vaping is much, much safer than smoking, so if smokers switch across completely to vaping that will bring a big benefit to their health and the health of those around them.

"This is because the toxic materials that are present in cigarette smoke either aren’t in the vapour from e-cigarettes or if they are they are present at much lower levels. However, no serious commentator would describe vaping as completely safe, so in the long-term people who have switched across from smoking should try to quit vaping too. People who don’t smoke some should definitely avoid vaping."

The message was joined by one from Cancer Research UK policy manager Alizee Froguel: “Evidence to date shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking tobacco and can help people to stop. But we strongly discourage those who have never smoked from using them, especially young people. We support balanced evidence-based regulation on e-cigarettes from government which maximises their potential to help people stop smoking, whilst minimising the risk of uptake from people who have never smoked and young people especially.”

The problem is that these kinds of messages don’t seem to be making an impression on dental practitioners. Holliday and McColl attempt to address this in their piece titled Vaping and Oral Health.

They open up by pointing to the evidential base for the statements they go on to make – in particular, the Cochrane review that currently includes data from 61 studies and 34 randomised controlled trials.

The pair then add that vaping as a substitute for smoking is supported b y a wealth of public health bodies including the NHS, the UK Health Security Agency, and the Royal College of Physicians.

The argument to support ex-smokers who now vape centres on the evidence that smoke contains a “toxic cocktail of chemicals” which is exceptionally harmful to oral health.

They point out that the negative periodontal health studies all tend to compare vaping with non-vaping rather than comparing vaping with smoking.

Then Holliday and McColl state “there is very little clinical evidence” to support claims that vaping causes caries (tooth decay, commonly known as cavities).

Lastly, they point readers to one of Holliday’s research papers published in 2021 - Electronic Cigarettes and Oral Health.

In summary,” they write, “e-cigarettes have good evidence to support them as an effective smoking cessation aid for tobacco smokers. Smokers can expect to see substantial improvements in their oral health if they fully switch to an e-cigarette.”


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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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