Published: Sun, August 19, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Helpful or harmful - what is the truth about e-cigarettes?

Helpful or harmful - what is the truth about e-cigarettes?

Vaping is much less harmful than normal cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people quit smoking, it said.

According to the report, around 2.9 million people in the United Kingdom are now using e-cigarettes, with an estimated 470,000 using them as an aid to stop smoking.

Expert opinion is divided on whether e-cigarettes can act as a young person's gateway to tobacco.

Misconceptions about e-cigarettes include that they are a "gateway" to smoking and that they pose a significant risk through second-hand inhalation, both of which are not true, according to the Commons's science and technology committee.

One professor said loosening regulation could be hard despite the committee finding and acknowledges there is still plenty of resistance to e-cigarettes in the public.

Public Health England (PHE) have estimated that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less damaging than regular smoking.

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Although the report recognised the long-term health effects of vaping were not yet known, it said e-cigarettes were substantially less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they contained no tar or carbon monoxide.

Vaping shops across the Fylde coast have welcomed calls for rules around e-cigarettes to be relaxed so they can be more widely used and accepted in society.

The committee also recommended that the government and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency should, with the e-cigarette industry, look at how the approval systems for stop smoking therapies could be "streamlined" should manufacturers put forward a product for medical licensing.

But the report's recommendations have come under fire by some public health experts, with one saying it relies on accounts from "e-cig champions".

The committee said the restrictions were "extraordinary" given those suffering from mental health issues smoke "significantly more" than the rest of the population and are nearly 2.5 times more likely to take up the habit.

A rethink on limits on refill strengths and tank sizes.

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"Those with mental ill health are being badly let down and NHS England appear to have failed to give this any priority".

For example, it said it was "unacceptable" that a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England had a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises, when there was a "negligible health risk" from second hand e-cigarette vapour. People with mental health conditions are nearly 2.5 times more likely to smoke compared to the general population.

There are 9 million smokers in the UK.

MPs want to review a ban preventing such a move - as it would now be considered as tobacco advertising.

They also said that the government should provide financial incentives in the form of lower levels of taxation for smokers to swap from cigarettes to less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes.

And in Wales, concern have been raised abut young people using e-cigarettes on a regular basis.

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"There is no doubt that e-cigarettes get a bad press and it is about time they were publicly discussed and their benefits highlighted". E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

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