The benefits of vaping


Your editorial about vaping does not match the science (“Before we embrace vaping, we need to know more about its long-term risks”).

No credible scientist says vaping is “completely safe” – few things are. The point is that vapes are far, far less harmful than smoking.

Moreover, the public health consensus that vaping is a “much less harmful” alternative to smoking is based on robust independent reviews of the scientific evidence, not “assumptions”.

The evidence on whether vaping helps smokers to quit is not “mixed”, as your editorial suggests. The weight of high-quality evidence – from Cochrane, among others – shows e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers quit. Cochrane reviews are a highly trusted source of objective health evidence used by policy makers worldwide.

Vaping is a harm reduction option for people trying to quit deadly tobacco smoking and the availability of e-cigarettes in the UK has helped many to do this. If all smokers switched to vaping, many lives could be saved and much cancer, heart and lung disease avoided.

The UK’s “liberal approach” very clearly does not recommend use of e-cigarettes by people who have never smoked. The public health community is united in the need for measures to make e-cigarettes less available and appealing to children. Smoking drives preventable death, disease and health inequalities. We need to maximise use of all available tools to help people quit smoking – including e-cigarettes.

Prof Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction, King’s College London; Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, associate professor, University of Oxford; Prof Caitlin Notley, professor of addiction sciences, Norwich Medical School, UEA; Prof Nick Hopkinson, professor of respiratory medicine, Imperial College, London; Prof Paul Aveyard, professor of behavioural medicine, University of Oxford; Prof Linda Bauld, professor of public health, University of Edinburgh; Prof John Britton, professor emeritus of epidemiology, University of Nottingham; Dr Leonie Brose, reader in addiction education and nicotine research, King’s College London; Prof Jamie Brown, co-director of the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, UCL; Dr Katie East, research associate, King’s College London; Prof Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, QMUL; Dr Sarah Jackson, principal research fellow, Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, UCL; Dr Debbie Robson, senior lecturer in Tobacco Harm Reduction, King’s College London; Prof Lion Shahab, co-director of the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, UCL; Dr Erikas Simonavičius, research associate, King’s College London; Eve Taylor, research assistant, King’s College London; Prof Robert West, professor emeritus of health psychology, UCL

Read full article here.

Prof Ann McNeill et al. – The Guardian – 2022-10-23.

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