Public Health England’s Sixth Independent e-cigarette report, commissioned from researchers at King’s College London was published on Wednesday 4th March alongside some new advice on vaping in NHS mental health issues.
The report gives us updates on the use of nicotine vaping products among young people and adults and discusses the public perceptions in regard to the harmfulness of vaping. It also takes a deep look into the evidence on e-cigarette use in people with mental health conditions and pregnant women.
Current vaping use has remained stable in adults and young people since the last report. The concern is that there is an increasing number of smokers who now believe that vaping is more harmful than smoking. This is out of line with expert reviews from both the UK and the US, concluding that using regulated vaping nicotine vaping products is far less harmful than smoking.
PHE has stood by their advice that current smokers should switch to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit, but non-smokers should not take up vaping. E-Cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking but are not completely safe. They contain significantly less harmful chemicals that cause diseases related to smoking but the long term impact of vaping will remain unknown for some time.
There is a mistaken belief that vaping is in fact more harmful than smoking and this belief has increased rapidly among UK smokers following the US lung injury outbreak in 2019. US authorities have now confirmed that Vitamin E-acetate, a thickening agent used in cannabis products, was a primary cause of the said outbreak. This substance is banned from UK-Regulated vaping products.
The report also recommends that:
- Proof of age at the sale of vaping products needs to be better enforced to protect young people.
- Health professionals should use advice on using e-cigarettes during pregnancy.
- More research is needed into vaping among smokers with mental health conditions and pregnant smokers.
Professor John Newton, the director of health improvement at Public Health England, has commented on the review.
It is concerning to see how much the US lung disease outbreak has affected smokers’ views on e-cigarettes here in the UK. 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.Professor John Newton, the director of health improvement at Public Health England.
Feel free to read the entire government post here: