“Another day and another study proves vaping is considerably less harmful than smoking, yet the World Health Organisation continues its anti-vaping campaign at the cost of millions of smokers’ lives,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA.
Her comments follow an independent review of scientific evidence out of the United Kingdom which shows vapers are exposed to much lower levels of toxicants, compared to smokers.
The report covered 413 studies since 2018 and used the list of toxicants identified by the World Health Organization, such as carbon monoxide, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Speaking to the report Dr Debbie Robson of Queens College London said: ‘In terms of health risks, we said that vaping imposes a small fraction of the risk of smoking in the short to medium term. Consistently, vaping exposes people to much lower level, significantly lower levels of risk than smoking.’
The third and latest report was commissioned by the Office for Health & Disparities, formerly known as Public Health England, the highest health authority in the UK.
“Public Health England stands resolutely behind its years’ old statement that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Those peddling lies about vaping increasingly struggle to rebuke the raft of independent studies and reviews that confirm that alternative nicotine products are considerably safer than combustible cigarettes,” says Ms Loucas.
This latest review out of the UK aims to inform government and policy makers about prevalence and characteristics of vaping among adults and young people in England. Notably in terms of policy, it recommended that the enforcement of age restrictions instead of regulations on vaping and smoking be improved to reduce access for both products.
Dr Robson said: ‘How any information is communicated and more importantly how that’s perceived by the user is really important, for the millions of people who smoke, who will die of or are living with chronic health conditions while we debate this.’
“When the narrative is based on scientific evidence and personal experiences, countries like New Zealand are seeing their overall smoking rate fall considerably. When it’s communicated positively and governments strictly regulate vaping, rather than try to ban it, adult smokers successfully and confidently switch to safer nicotine products,” says Ms Loucas.
“The WHO does its best to muddy the waters around vaping but over 70 countries have now ignored their advice and legalised and regulated safer nicotine products with considerable success. This latest review will hopefully compel countries to get on and do what’s right for the public health of their citizens,” says Nancy Loucas.
CAPHRA says despite decades of tobacco control efforts, harm reduction advocacy and public health education on the harms of smoking, the decline in global smoking rates has been frustratingly slow. Sadly, smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable death when it doesn’t need to be.