Major UK medical body urges promotion of vaping to smokers
E-cigarettes should be promoted widely “as a substitute for smoking” according to the Royal College of Physicians, a British organisation for doctors similar to the American Medical Association.
Their comprehensive report, Nicotine Without Smoke, concludes that e-cigarettes “are likely to be beneficial to UK public health”. The press release tears down all of the arguments made by those who would like to see vapour products regulated out of existence. The outright bullishness of these statements makes for heartening reading.
According to the Royal College, e-cigarettes are “not a gateway to smoking”, they “do not result in the normalisation of smoking” they are “likely to lead to quit attempts that would otherwise not have happened” and, while potential longer term risk is not ruled out, it is considered “substantially smaller than the risk from smoking tobacco”.
John Britton, who leads the Royal Colleges tobacco advisory group and is among the foremost experts in respiratory medicine worldwide, makes his view clear:
“This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK. Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever.”
The report also discusses what good regulation for e-cigarettes would look like and condemns soon-to-be-implemented legislation in the European Union which covers e-cigarettes. For instance, it roundly criticises the warning labels mandated by the new law:
“The requirement for nicotine products covered by the TPD to carry a health warning emphasising the risks of nicotine, when licensed nicotine products do not, appears illogical, as does the restriction on statements comparing the relative risks of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. The health warning required under the TPD provisions may also reinforce misperceptions about nicotine”.
The tone of the report, and the way that the Royal College of Physicians has chosen to position it in its press release, clearly demonstrates that it is designed to follow on from the much-lauded report from UK Government Agency Public Health England which, last year, decreed that vaping was 95% safer than smoking. Furthermore, the manufactured controversy around the PHE report should now be laid to rest.
It also further underlines British exceptionalism in this area. While much of the rest of the world, and notably the United States, remain preoccupied with moralizing about protecting the children and exaggerating the risks of vaping when compared to smoking, the United Kingdom wants to move smokers away from cigarettes and onto vaping.