Vaping News

King’s College Talks Evidence

The Nicotine Research Group, based at King’s College London, has spoken about the clear evidence that supports vaping and tobacco harm reduction

Share on:
The Nicotine Research Group, based at King’s College London, has spoken about the clear evidence that supports vaping and tobacco harm reduction. With cigarettes killing over half of their long-term users, the Group has provided a much-needed body of research to enable an evidence-based approach to policymaking in this area.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers the tobacco epidemic to be one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people per year worldwide. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smokes cause 65,000 deaths per year in England alone. It remains the largest single risk factor for death and ill-health and is a leading cause of health inequalities in England,” says the Nicotine Research Group.

The group believes vape products offer “a substantially less harmful alternative” but is concerned about the “backdrop of controversy and disparate knowledge” that is involved in the “heated debate” about vaping and regulation.

Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, said: “As Professor Michael Russell from the, then, Institute of Psychiatry said over 40 years ago, ‘Smokers smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar’. Since then, various less harmful nicotine delivery systems have been developed. However, e-cigarettes were the first to mirror the act of smoking whilst delivering decent doses of nicotine, and they quickly became popular alternatives to tobacco cigarettes.

Our Nicotine Research Group at King’s quickly picked up the gauntlet to study vaping products, investigating who was using them, how and why, as well as synthesising the global evidence on their impact on public health. The evidence indicated that when appropriately regulated and used, e-cigarettes helped smokers to stop and offered a much less harmful means of continuing nicotine use for those that wished to do so.”

The team at King’s have been providing clarity about evidence ever since Public Health England declared vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking in 2015.

Dr Leonie Brose, Reader in Addiction Education and Nicotine Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, added: “We know that more than half of all long-term smokers will die early because of smoking. But in England, seven out of ten adult smokers think vaping is at least as harmful as smoking or are unsure. Such misperceptions were even worse in smokers from more disadvantaged groups and among smokers from black and minority ethnic groups. These figures show a failure to communicate the evidence to those affected by the harms of smoking.”

Their findings:

  • E-cigarette use helps tobacco smokers quit smoking
  • Daily e-cigarette use was associated with reduced tobacco smoking
  • Using e-cigarettes with a re-fillable liquid tank daily were more likely to have quit smoking

Public Health England (PHE - now Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and UK Health Security Agency) commissioned King’s researchers to summarise the evidence on e-cigarettes in six independent evidence reviews. These reviews - published in 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 - received global attention. They have informed policy and are the means by which the government monitors the use and impact of e-cigarettes among adults and youth, as well as identifying areas of interest for future research and policy.

The reviews underpin the UK government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, authored by the Department of Health and Social Care, which includes aims to support harm reduction with alternative forms of nicotine such as e-cigarettes.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

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.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

A Missed Opportunity at COP10

The Smoke Free Sweden movement says that COP10 was a missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Vaping News

COP10: Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction

Experts with Smoke Free Sweden are emphasising the urgent need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction approach at COP10

Vaping News

EU Commission Called Out

The World Vapers' Alliance calls out the EU Commission's hostile stance on Tobacco Harm Reduction in light of Tobacco Product Directive consultation findings