Stating what many scientists have known for decades, health authorities have definitively stated that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
NHS Health Scotland said it wanted to “clarify” confusion surrounding the harms and benefits of vaping devices.
More than 20 organizations have signed up in agreement with the consensus led by NHS Health Scotland. Health chiefs said that vaping, while still smoking, did not provide any health benefits.
Published by Scotland’s national health education and promotion agency, the consensus was agreed by academia, the Scottish government, health boards, and many charities such as the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK.
There is no longer room for debate – vaping is less harmful than smoking – and some countries are choosing to recognize facts.
Vaping Is Less Harmful Than Cigarettes By Over 95%?
There are estimated to be about 2.9 million people in the UK who use vaporizers. More than half of them have given up smoking tobacco since 2012, a study suggested.
Other research for Public Health England concluded that vaporizers were 95% less harmful than normal cigarettes.
About nine million people still smoke in the UK despite the rise in e-cigarette use since 2012, which is largely in part due to the misconceptions and false advertisement of the products.
Dr. Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, told BBC Scotland: “E-cigarettes have been around for a number of years now and we are learning more and more about them but I think it is safe to say that they are a lot safer than cigarettes.
“If we are trying to help people make a decision about giving up smoking tobacco then e-cigarettes are a good option to consider.”
Dr. Fraser said vaping was not available on NHS prescription, but it was an option for those trying to give up smoking cigarettes.
“We would encourage people to consider them and we would encourage people providing smoking cessation serves to offer them as an option to people who are willing to pay for them,” he said.
Dr. Fraser also said he wanted to deliver a “positive” message for vaping, saying they “weren’t anything like as dangerous as cigarettes”.
Fraser said that reports comparing the risk of vaping to smoking tobacco were not accurate claims.
However, he added that e-cigarettes were not risk-free.
“They contain nicotine, which is addictive in itself, and they contain and a number of other combustible materials,” Dr. Fraser said.
“But if you take it all in the round and compare it with the alternative they are a lot less harmful than cigarettes.”
He added that ideally vaping would be used a way to give up smoking entirely and advised against “double running” – taking both tobacco and vaping.
Last year, Scotland’s largest health board ruled that vaping devices could be used within the grounds of its hospitals.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have decided to allow the restricted use of vaporizers after new conclusive evidence that they effectively help tackle the tobacco smoking epidemic.
Health boards were given discretion over the use of vaping devices outside buildings after smoking tobacco was banned across all health grounds in Scotland in April 2015.
A New Era for Smoking and Public Health
Chief executive of Ash Scotland, a charity aiming to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, Sheila Duffy said the joint statement on vaping brought “clarity” to the issue.
“There is now agreement that vaping carries less risk than smoking tobacco,” she said.
“Although we still don’t know the long-term health effects of vaping, we can be confident that any smoker switching entirely to e-cigarettes will be taking in far fewer cancer-causing chemicals.
“Tobacco is lethal and I’d encourage anyone who smokes to find a way of quitting that works for them, which could include using e-cigarettes, and to make use of the free NHS stop-smoking support available to help.”
More and more countries are recognizing the powerful impact that vaping can have on the overall public health of a population.
Do you agree with the sentiments and statements shared by NHS Health Scotland? Is the USA falling behind? Can we help create a smoke-free generation?
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