Experts dispel myths around e-cigarettes

National experts have gathered to dispel the myths around electronic cigarettes.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 4:07 pm
More than 100 people attended an event discussing the benefits of e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking.

More than 100 people gathered for the Making Smoking History in the North East Partnership event hosted by Fresh North East.

The event came two weeks after Public Health England (PHE) released a major independent evidence review of e-cigarettes.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh, said: “We are delighted at how well received the event was and we’re incredibly grateful to our panel of world experts for helping to de-mystify some of the misconceptions around e-cigarettes.

“Tobacco smoking kills one in two long term smokers, and North East hospitals see 38,000 hospital admissions every year from smoking.

“It’s worrying that public perceptions of the safety of e-cigarettes has worsened in recent years and it is really important that we get the message out there that vaping is not smoking and the evidence shows it is far less harmful.

“Most people who vape are doing so with the aim of switching from tobacco. E-cigarettes are now the country’s most popular quitting aid, and we need to support anyone using them to stay tobacco free.”

Professor Ann McNeill, lead author of the PHE report and professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London, said: “E-cigarettes are estimated to be substantially less harmful to health than tobacco, but it is a huge concern that many smokers are put off switching as they aren’t sure it will be better for their health. We do need to tackle these misconceptions.”

The key findings of PHE’s independent evidence review are that:

• Vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits;

• E-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more.

• E-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country.

• Many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40 per cent of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette.

• There is much public misunderstanding about nicotine. Less than 10 per cent of adults understand that most of the harm to health from smoking is not caused by nicotine.

• The use of e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued over the last few years at just under three million.

• The evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people. Youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline. Regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked.