New UK public health report confirms vaping is a gateway out of smoking

A NEW report by Public Health England (PHE), UK’s top public health organisation, has added to the growing evidence that vaping (also known as e-cigarettes) is an effective tool for getting cigarette smokers to quit.

This new evidence update – released by PHE in late February 2021 and its seventh independent report on vaping in England – also reconfirms that vaping is 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

Carried out by leading researchers at King’s College London, the report also found more than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking in 2017 through the aid of a vaping product.

In 2020, nicotine vaping products were the most popular smoking cessation aid in England – used by 27.2% compared with 18.2% who used nicotine replacement therapy such as patches and gum, and 4.4% who used varenicline (a prescription medication used to treat nicotine addiction).

The report also estimates around 6% of adults or about 2.7 million adult vapers in England with smoking prevalence in England continue to decline.

Despite this positive data, PHE also expressed concerns around the increasing misconceptions of the relative risk caused by vaping products compared to smoking.

Researchers at King’s College London found that in 2020, 38% of respondents wrongfully believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking and 15% believed that vaping was more harmful than smoking.

“The best thing that a smoker can do is to stop smoking completely and the evidence shows that vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available, helping around 50,000 smokers quit a year,” said PHE director (health improvement) John Newton.

“The evidence has been clear for some time that while (it is) not risk-free, (but at least) vaping is far less harmful than smoking.”

Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London and lead author of the report noted that the report draws together findings from randomised controlled trials, stop smoking services and population studies.

“(It) concludes that nicotine vaping products are an effective way of successfully quitting smoking,” she pointed out.

“What is concerning is that smokers, particularly those from disadvantaged groups, incorrectly and increasingly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking. This is not true and means fewer smokers try vaping.”

Back home in Malaysia, various groups in the local vape industry is calling for regulations on vape products, specifically in relation to allowing nicotine use in e-liquids.

This is especially where excise has been introduced on vape products and continue to exclude e-liquids containing nicotine and to-date no regulations has been introduced on the growing vape industry.

Vape products have entered the local market in 2006 and consumption have gained traction, especially in recent years as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. According to the Health Ministry (MOH), there are currently 1.12 million vapers in Malaysia.

A recent study entitled Study on the Malaysian Vaping Industry by the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) has delved deeper into the reasons why Malaysians choose to vape.

According to the findings, 94% of vape users in Malaysia have a history of smoking cigarettes, and the top reasons given for choosing to vape are as a means to quit smoking cigarettes (57%) and because it is less dangerous as compared to smoking cigarettes (56%). – March 5, 2021

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE