Vaping substantially cuts health risks of smoking – report finds

Posted on October 1, 2022 By Colin

A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW of 400 vaping studies commissioned by the English government has firmly concluded that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking. Meanwhile Australian governments continue to  mislead the public with untruthful information about vaping.

The independent review is the eighth in a series of reports originally commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) and now the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

Overall, the review concluded that “the estimate that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking ”remains broadly accurate, at least over short term and medium term periods”

Longer-term studies are needed to confirm long-term safety, but the report confirms that

“vaping is effective for stopping smoking” and that “smokers should be encouraged to use vaping products (or approved medicines) for stopping smoking, or as alternative nicotine delivery devices to reduce the health harms of smoking”

However, “vaping is not risk-free” and people who have never smoked should not vape.

England has the highest vaping rate in the world with 8.3% of adults vaping in 2022. Of these, 31% are currently dual users (smoking and vaping). Vaping is almost exclusively confined to smokers and former smokers.

Only 0.6% of vapers have never smoked.

Key findings

Meanwhile in Australia...

While the evidence for vaping is growing, Australian health authorities continue to mislead the public and run scare campaigns to create fear and doubt. They focus on the small and potential harms of vaping without comparing it to the alternative,  deadly cigarettes.

The federal Health Department deceptively says on its website

"Currently, there is insufficient evidence to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation" and "many scientists are concerned that using e-cigarettes could increase risk of lung disease, heart disease and cancer"

Organisations such as the National Health and Medical Research CouncilNational Centre for Epidemiology and Public HealthAustralian Medical AssociationCancer Council and Heart FoundationLung Foundation AustraliaAustralian Council on Smoking and Health, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and the federal and state health departments are all responsible for misleading the public.

The review found that correcting this misinformation could lead to more vaping, less smoking and improved population health.

The Australian government needs to listen. By opposing vaping it is failing to help hundred of thousands of Australian smokers switch from a deadly habit to a far less harmful one

Independent expert comments

Independent experts have made glowing comments about the research review.

McNeill A et al. Nicotine vaping in England_ an evidence update including health risks and perceptions. OHID 2022

Science Media Centre. Expert reaction to Nicotine vaping in England: an evidence update, as published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID). 29 Sept 2022

Switch from smoking to vaping cuts health risks substantially, report finds. The Guardian 30 Sept 2022

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