In October, an MP’s inquiry into e-cigarettes was announced, in which The Science and Technology Committee would “examine the impact of electronic cigarettes on human health (including their effectiveness as a stop-smoking tool), the suitability of regulations guiding their use, and the financial implications of a growing market on both business and the NHS.”
The news of the inquiry was welcomed with open arms by arm vaping advocates as it provides an opportunity to allow for much more clarity on the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes leading to more informed decisions from both the public and policy makers.
The Committee is currently accepting written evidence and has already published over 80 submissions, including encouraging findings from Public Health England and the MHRA, and the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations. The evidence provided so far is generally very positive with regards to both e-cigarettes and your health and e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has also submitted written evidence to the Committee and the document discusses ‘the benefits of e-cigarettes as a stop smoking tool’ and ‘the impact of e-cigarettes on human health’.
BLF endorses e-cigarettes as a stop smoking tool
“We believe that e-cigarettes are a welcome addition to the suite of tools available to aid smokers to quit.”
The foundation backs up this view with recent evidence which states that “The current most common reason for people in England using an e-cigarette is as an aid to quitting smoking (46%). The next most common reason was that they are perceived to be less harmful than cigarettes at 27%”
The publication also commends the success of this year’s Stoptober campaign and explains that this initiative was in place due to the popularity of e-cigarettes during the 2016 campaign.
The BLF explored the socioeconomic divide between smokers and non-smokers, as it linked this to the increase in successful quit attempts over recent times. Although it is difficult to provide categorical evidence that this increase is primarily due to e-cigarettes, the document stated,
“Various factors may have contributed to these improved quit rates, but the availability of a wide range of quitting methods, including e-cigarettes, is very likely to be relevant.”
BLF explores the health impact of E-cigarettes
By collating research conducted by leading health organisations and medical professionals, BLF held a positive view on the impact of e-cigarettes on human health. It explained that there is a much smaller range of toxins found in e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes and cited Public Health England’s conclusion “that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than regular cigarettes”.
The long term effects of e-cigarettes was also explored and utilised Dr Riccardo Polosa’s recently published study which showed no reduction in lung function of vapers over 3 and a half years. It was also discussed that more long term research should be conducted.
The BLF accepts that there is a slight risk element associated with e-cigarette vapour but rightly compares this to tobacco smoke and states “exposure is well below thresholds, so will still be much less dangerous than the risks associated to smoking cigarettes”. This is before justifiably dismissing the gateway theory due to no clear evidence for the claim.
This is a very encouraging submission from the British Lung Foundation and we hope this statement, along with the other written evidence is taken into consideration during the inquiry.