Report Finds E-Cigs 95% Safer Than Cigarettes

A independent review on the evidence of the use of e-cigarettes has concluded that they are "significantly less harmful" than tobacco products and have the potential to help people quit smoking.

Published by Public Health England (PHE), the expert reports key findings include"

• the current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking

• nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking

• there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers

The review, commissioned and led by Professor Ann McNeill, of King’s College London, and Professor Peter Hajek, Queen Mary University of London, suggests that e-cigarettes may be contributing to falling smoking rates among adults and young people. Following the review has published a paper on the implications of the evidence for policy and practice.

The comprehensive review of the evidence finds that almost all of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers, most of whom are using the devices to help them quit smoking or to prevent them going back to cigarettes. It also provides reassurance that very few adults and young people who have never smoked are becoming regular e-cigarette users – less than 1% in each group.

However, the review raises concerns that increasing numbers of people think e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking – 22.1% in 2015, up from 8.1% in 2013: ASH Smokefree GB survey. Despite this trend all current evidence finds that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking.

Emerging evidence suggests some of the highest successful quit rates are now seen among smokers who use an e-cigarette and also receive additional support from their local stop smoking services.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said: "Smoking remains England’s number one killer and the best thing a smoker can do is to quit completely, now and forever.

"E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm. The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting. Local stop smoking services should look to support e-cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely."


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