A leading anti-smoking charity has warned of the dangers of the Government’s proposed restrictions on vaping.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has raised concerns that a complete ban will be counterproductive to smoking cessation efforts. An August 2023 report by the charity found that vaping only poses a small fraction of a risk compared to smoking, and switching from completely smoking to vaping has benefits for those trying to quit.
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While ASH is sympathetic to the call for banning vapes, it said ‘the risk of unintended consequences is too great for us to support a ban.’ However it advises that care must be taken to not promote their use amongst non-smokers and young adults.
Research led by the University of Oxford and funded by Cancer Research UK supports ASH’s findings. It found that people are more likely to stop smoking for at least six months using nicotine e-cigarettes, or vapes, than using nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gums. For every 100 people using nicotine e‐cigarettes to stop smoking, 8 to 12 might successfully stop, compared with only 6 of 100 people using nicotine‐replacement therapy.
Mitchell Allen, chief executive at Cancer Research UK said, ‘we welcome these reports which add to a growing body of evidence showing that e-cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation tool. However, we strongly discourage those who have never smoked from using e-cigarettes, especially young people.’
‘Cancer Research UK supports regulated licensing on e-cigarettes from UK governments which maximises their potential to help people stop smoking, whilst minimising the risk of uptake among others,’ said Allen.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his decision to implement a ban on disposable vapes at the Conservative Party Conference in early October. The Government plans to ban the manufacture and sale of disposable vapes by 2024.
‘I am deeply concerned about the sharp rise in kids vaping and will do everything in my power to end this practice for good,’ said Mr Sunak.