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E-cigarettes ‘significantly less harmful to health than tobacco’


A review on the safety of e-cigarettes has been published today by Public Health England (PHE), which has suggested that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco.

The review, led by Professor Ann McNeill from King’s College London and Professor Peter Hajek from Queen Mary University of London, reveals that over 20% of people think e-cigarettes are just as harmful or even more harmful than tobacco.

Smoking cessation groups in the North of England have already been recommending e-cigarettes to smokers trying to quit, however GPs will not be allowed to recommend the devices until they carry a medical licence.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, says smoking is still England’s number one cause of death: “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.”

This advice contradicts another recent study by the University of Southern California, which suggests that smoking e-cigarettes could lead to an increase in tobacco smoking in teenagers.

Around 2,500 high school students in Los Angeles were surveyed, and the students who admitted to using e-cigarettes were more than twice as likely to report smoking cigarettes during the course of the study.

John Young, anti-smoking campaigner and Founder of Tobacco Free World, which has been working on the development of a medically licensed inhaled nicotine product for over 12 months, says:

“We welcome the report published by PHE and feel that the use of e-cigarettes is a step in the right direction.

“However, what the report doesn’t take into account are two recent studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the University of Southern California”

WHO commissioned a report on e-cigarettes, which highlighted the need for tougher regulations of the devices.

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