8 truths about Vape
The British Ministry of Health released an article on 8 truths about e-cigarettes on March 5, which was reprinted on the official website of the British government. It can be regarded as a powerful refutation of the most widely spread rumors and prejudices in the e-cigarette industry by government agencies.
Smoking is not without risks, but it is far less harmful than smoking. Our recommendation remains that smokers should switch to e-cigarettes completely, but if you have never smoked, don’t start e-cigarettes.
The release of this blog coincides with PHE’s latest independent evidence report, which explores some of the most common misconceptions surrounding e-cigarettes and provides facts.
- E-cigarettes and the U.S. lung disease outbreak
Last August, vapers began arriving in emergency rooms that suffered severe lung injuries across the United States. The cause of the outbreak is not yet known, which resulted in 68 deaths in the following months. You can read our recommendations here.
Based in part on the fact that the outbreak affected a very specific population, and the incidence of new cases peaked and declined, we wrote to The Lancet to explain that the possible culprit was “Bad batch” of illegal cannabis atomized products. However, in response to this outbreak, regulatory agencies around the world began to withdraw nicotine atomized products from the market while still being able to buy cigarettes, making smokers reluctant to change cigarettes.
Since then, US authorities have identified vitamin E acetate added in cannabis products as the “main cause” of the outbreak. Vitamin E acetate is banned from the use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes regulated by the United Kingdom.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Respiration and heart disease
A controversial study reported that smokers have recently been at the same risk of heart disease as smokers because the journal did not consider that all smokers involved are current or former smokers, so it was recently withdrawn by the journal.
A better understanding of the effects of electronic cigarettes on the heart is beginning to emerge. A randomized controlled trial was published in December, which measured the vascular effects of smokers turning to vaping, and produced encouraging results. Those who completely switched to e-cigarettes had the greatest improvement in their blood vessel health, approaching a healthy “control”. Larger studies and longer follow-ups will provide greater confidence. The debate continues here and here.
- The harm compared with smoking
In England, only one-third of adults know that smoking is far less harmful than smoking. However, in 2018, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) found that existing evidence shows that the harm of e-cigarettes is “far less than conventional smoking.”
The 2015 independent evidence report of the Public Health Service of England concluded: “Although nebulization may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals that cause smoking-related diseases do not exist, and the chemicals present pose a limited risk. .”
Need to further study the relative harm of electronic cigarettes. Last month, PHE commissioned the final report in the latest series of e-cigarette updates, which is also the most ambitious report. A team composed of the authors of PHE’s previous reports and other international experts is embarking on an extensive system review, including security reviews, to allow us to conduct the most authoritative assessment in 2022.
- The harm of nicotine
When there is evidence that nicotine is actually at the lowest risk of harm to health, four in ten smokers and former smokers mistakenly believe that nicotine causes most smoking-related cancers. Although nicotine is the reason people are addicted to smoking, the thousands of other chemicals contained in cigarette smoke cause almost all the harm.
- Quit smoking
A major clinical trial funded by NIHR in the UK was published in February 2019. The study involved nearly 900 participants and found that in local smoking cessation services, standard e-cigarettes helped smokers to quit twice as much as quitters chose nicotine combination drugs. Alternative therapy (NRT).
Another UCL study found that e-cigarettes helped another 50-70,000 smokers in England to quit smoking within a year.
- Harm to bystanders
There is clear evidence that exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful, which is why the United Kingdom enacted laws to prohibit smoking in closed public places and workplaces. These laws do not cover e-cigarettes, and organizations are free to formulate their own e-cigarette policies.
E-cigarette liquid usually consists of nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerin and flavoring agents. Unlike cigarettes, electronic cigarettes do not emit sidestream vapors into the atmosphere, but only exhaled aerosols.
Our 2018 report found no health risks of passive smoking by bystanders, and our 2022 report will review the evidence again. People with asthma and other respiratory diseases may be sensitive to a variety of environmental irritants. PHE recommends that organizations take this into consideration and adjust policies when appropriate.
- Smoking and youth smoking
Our latest report has no evidence to support concerns that e-cigarettes are increasing youth smoking. A survey in the United Kingdom shows that young people are trying to use e-cigarettes, but they rarely use e-cigarettes frequently, and they are almost entirely restricted to people who already smoke. At the same time, the smoking rate among young people in the UK continues to decline.
A study in 2019 addressed concerns that e-cigarettes may “re-normalize” smoking. PHE continues to monitor young people’s e-cigarette and smoking trends. We recently commissioned researchers to study the role of flavoring agents in adolescent smoking and adult conversion.
- E-cigarette regulations
The UK has comprehensive e-cigarette regulations. According to the 2016 Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, e-cigarette products containing nicotine must comply with minimum quality and safety standards, as well as packaging and labeling requirements to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices.
Advertising is strictly restricted. Manufacturers must notify the UK Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority of all product details, which prohibits certain ingredients.
This fall, an international report named the United Kingdom as the first to prevent the influence of the tobacco industry. PHE regularly advises local authorities to reject tobacco companies’ practices.