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Top British Health Chiefs Tell Doctors to Support Vaping
The leading health authority in Britain has issued an advisory, telling the nation’s doctors to tell their patients who are smokers to switch to e-cigarettes instead, as a way to give up and get healthier.
Smoking claims around 100,000 lives each year in Britain, which is made up of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Now, amid a government plan to turn the country of 65.6 million people into a mostly smoke-free place by 2022, health authorities are doing all they can to get people to stub out cigarettes for good.
The new advisory comes at a time when vaping is emerging as a leading smoking-cessation method — in the UK at least — with more medical and other institutions throwing their weight behind e-cigs as an effective way to get people off deadly tobacco. With vapes for sale on practically every street in Britain, as well as online, smokers are able to easily get their hands on the hardware and e-liquid refills they need.
NICE Backing of Vaping
The latest British health organisation to support vaping as a way of getting people to stop smoking is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Known by its acronym, NICE, this healthcare body acts in an advisory role for the country’s National Health Service, which operates hospitals and clinics around the country and provides free services to all British people.
NICE examined vaping as a smoking-cessation method and found e-cigarettes and the e-liquid they contain to be a sure-fire method to stop smoking. The e-liquid, which is heated by a battery and produces vapour, not smoke, contains flavors and nicotine, or no nicotine at all. Indeed, many smokers who switch to e-cigs find they can gradually lower the amount of nicotine in the e-liquid refills they buy. Then, they’re able to get themselves off addictive nicotine entirely and just vape using the many fruity and other flavors now available.
“For people who smoke and who are using, or are interested in using, a nicotine-containing e‑cigarette on general sale to quit smoking, explain that … many people have found them helpful to quit smoking cigarettes,” says the NICE advisory. It also says that “the evidence suggests that e‑cigarettes are substantially less harmful to health than smoking but are not risk free.”
Clearing the Air
The NICE advisory was, it says, designed to end conflicting official statements about whether vaping is more beneficial than smoking, in terms of giving up and getting healthier. Vaping, after all, has only really taken off and become incredibly popular in the last few years, and medical bodies are still trying to figure out if there are any risks associated with using e-cigarettes.
In the UK, it’s clear that the official word is there’s little or no risk to public health with vaping — certainly when compared to smoking. Another health authority in the UK — Public Health England — felt compelled earlier this year to re-issue its own advice on vaping and declared it practically risk-free.
In a review of vaping undertaken by leading independent tobacco experts, the advisory said “switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits” and that “e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more.”
It also said many smokers in the UK had incorrect information about vaping, and think it’s as harmful as smoking, when the facts say otherwise. It said as much as 40% of smokers had never even tried an e-cigarette as a way to stop smoking, and that there was no evidence to support claims that e-cigs are a route to smoking for young people.