In a study published in August 2015 by Public Health England (PHE) researchers found concrete evidence that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than their combustable cigarette counterpart.
In an interview news segment held on August 14th 2018 on BBC Breakfast, Martin Dockrell, who is tasked with tobacco control for the PHE, sat down to talk about the previously mentioned 2015 study. (Dockrell pictured on the right)
In the BBC interview Mr. Dockrell mentioned that the “scientific consensus around the world” concerning electronic cigarettes over the last 12 months is much stronger. Dockrell went on to site a study performed by the Royal College of Physicians that says e-ciagretts have only about 5% of the risks of smoking traditional cigarettes.
While electronic cigarettes carry 95% less health risks than cigarettes, people who are non smokers should continue to stay away from electronic cigarettes.
Mr. Dockrell said simply and bluntly, “If you are not a smoker, 5% of the risk of smoking is quite a lot, thats not a good move.” He also mentioned “There is no evidence that people are taking up vaping who don’t already smoke.”
According to nearly 10 years of research, the vast majority of UK vapers have always been either smokers or ex-smokers.
As of now the UK has some of the “tightest” regulatory system that stops short of banning electronic cigarettes completely. Some of the regulations set for electronic cigarettes include health warnings, set maximum nicotine concentration, and a detailed list of banned chemicals.
Dockrell also mentions that 3 major reports from the United States have been published in 2018 that have come out on the side that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than smoking cigarettes.
Thats all fine and dandy, but why are we talking about a report that came out in 2015? There must be new and more exciting research to talk about, right? Well, one of the biggest things outlined in the 2015 report was that 44.8% of the UK population doesn’t realize that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking.
Professor Kevin Fenton, who is the Director of Health and Wellbeing at the PHE, was quoted in the report saying “The problem is people increasingly thing they (electronic cigarettes) are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting.”
Dockrell finishes the interview by saying “Evidence suggests some of the highest successful quit rates are now seen among smokers who use an e-cigarette.”
If in the UK 44.8% of people think electronic cigarettes are at least on the same level of harm as cigarettes, that then begs the question how much of the United States population have the same misconceptions?
It seems that we are at a point where the FDA realizes electronic cigarettes are not going away. The FDA is currently in the midway stages of creating regulations for e-cigs.
Perhaps the most important thing the FDA can do at this point is correctly educate the CDC’s estimated 37.8 million current cigarette smokers that electronic cigarettes have far less health risks than cigarettes.