Scotland. E-cigs definitely less harmful than smoking

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 21 September, 2017

'There is now agreement based on the current evidence that vaping e-cigarettes is definitely less harmful than smoking tobacco', health bodies in Scotland have stated for the first time in a historic consensus statement.

'Although most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, vaping carries less risk than smoking tobacco. Thus, it would be a good thing if smokers used them instead  of tobacco'.

The organisations agree that 'it would be a good thing if smokers used them instead of tobacco. They are not risk free, but based on current evidence, they have a much lower risk than tobacco'

'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', the statement says.

More than 20 organisations have signed up to the consensus, which was led by NHS Health Scotland. The consensus statement was agreed by the Scottish government, health boards, academia and charities such as the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

In a media release, Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: "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."

One purpose of the statement was to "clarify" confusion around the harms and benefits of vaping devices. Many people are not aware that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking and this has reduced the uptake of this potentially lifesaving technology.

However, the consensus statement stressed that smokers who start vaping should go on to completely quit smoking as dual use does not provide health benefits. 'Anyone who is using both should be strongly encouraged to stop smoking tobacco as soon as they can' the statement says.

The Consensus was created by NHS Health Scotland in collaboration with:

  • ASH Scotland
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
  • Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
  • Directors of Public Health
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • NHS Lothian
  • NHS Tayside
  • Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
  • Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland
  • Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy
  • Scottish Consultants in Dental Health
  • Scottish Thoracic Society
  • UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Stirling

 

Consensus statement

Media release

BBC media report

 

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