Over half of smokers believe nicotine vaping products are equally or more harmful than smoking despite US vaping deaths being caused by substances banned in UK, according to a new report by Public Health England (PHE).
According to the report, current vaping use has remained stable in adults and young people since the last report. Of concern is the increasing number of smokers that now believe vaping is more harmful than smoking. This is out of line with expert reviews from the UK and US concluding that using regulated nicotine vaping products is far less harmful than smoking.
‘It is concerning to see how much the US lung disease outbreak has affected smokers’ views on e-cigarettes here in the UK,’ said Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE.
‘Safety fears may well be deterring many smokers from switching, leaving them on a path to years of ill health and an early death due to their smoking. The US authorities have now confirmed that vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent added to cannabis vaping liquid, was a primary cause of the US outbreak. This substance is banned in UK-regulated nicotine vaping products.’
The report also found health professionals need better information and training to support people with mental health conditions to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Additionally, the researchers also found that more research is needed to understand the prevalence, safety and effectiveness of using e-cigarettes in pregnancy.
‘It is currently very hard for smokers to make sense of the many contradictory reports on the impacts of vaping and smoking,’ said Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, and lead author of the report.
‘In our review we present evidence that suggests in England, vaping has not undermined declines in adult smoking, and for youth, vaping is mainly concentrated in those who were already dabbling in cigarette smoking. However, we need to remain vigilant and ensure that vaping products, alongside regular cigarettes, are not easily accessible to young people.’