IBVTA welcomes Public Health England’s sixth independent e-cigarette report
The IBVTA welcomes Public Health England’s (PHE) sixth independent e-cigarette report, commissioned from researchers at King’s College London, and published on Wednesday 4 March 2020. The report is accompanied by new PHE advice on vaping in NHS mental health trusts.
The report itself provides an update on the use of nicotine vaping products among young people and adults, and public perceptions of the harmfulness of vaping.
Most worryingly, it finds that 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.
This is something the IBVTA first drew attention to in August of 2019. We subsequently had the opportunity to speak directly to delegates about at the PHE conference in September, and was the main impetus in our launching our #VapingSavesLives campaign in January.
The report identifies a need for continued monitoring of public perceptions, as the researchers fear that smokers are being deterred by safety fears from using e-cigarettes to quit, which will ultimately cost lives. The report also warns that a ban on flavoured liquids could also deter some smokers from switching to e-cigarettes completely.
Prof John Britton of the University of Nottingham has called for mass media campaigns to ensure that all smokers understand that switching to e-cigarettes is one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking and protecting their health.
PHE’s report also takes an in depth look at the evidence on e-cigarette use in people with mental health conditions and pregnant women.
The authors of the report found health professionals need better information and training to support people with mental health conditions to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. PHE has published advice on vaping in NHS mental health trusts to address this.
It was fortuitous that the IBVTA were attending a meeting with officials from the Department of Health and Social Care on the day of the PHE report launch. It provided yet another opportunity for us to discuss the independent vape industry’s commitment to ensuring that as many of the UK’s remaining smokers have the opportunity to switch to the best products available.
It must never be forgotten that smoking is still responsible for 73,000 deaths and 480,000 hospital admissions in the UK every year, and PHE’s new report should give smokers and the public every confidence that vaping is firmly recognised as an alternative that can only reduce this death toll.