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Public Health England Shares Vaping Advice Following Spate Of US Deaths

Public Health England Shares Vaping Advice Following Spate Of US Deaths

One of the country's leading health bodies has addressed claims that vaping should be banned.

Public Health England (PHE) has shared its advice for people trying to give up smoking - and tried to dispel some myths surrounding e-cigarettes.

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This comes after reports of six vaping-related deaths in the United States made headlines this month, leading some critics to call for the habit to be outlawed.

However, PHE responded to concerns on Twitter, claiming that despite the risks, vaping is safer than smoking tobacco and is much more effective at helping people quit than willpower alone.

A series of posts read: "Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged - vaping isn't completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco.

"There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.

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"All UK e-cigarette products are tightly regulated for quality and safety by @MHRAgovuk. It's important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances, any of which could be harmful.

"Smoking kills thousands every year and creating a smoke free generation is one of our top priorities. Vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking and makes it much more likely you'll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone."

They added: "The sooner you stop smoking completely the better."

The tweets echo comments from its head of Tobacco Control Martin Dockrell, who earlier this month claimed there was a clear distinction between vaping in the US and the UK.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Dockrell said: "Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and they operate the yellow card scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences."


Some experts, however, have hit out at PHE for its defence of e-cigarettes, specifically that of flavouring. Mr Dockrell argued last week that banning flavoured e-cigarettes would lead to people relapsing back to smoking.

Professor Charlotta Pisinger is the chair of the European Respiratory Society Tobacco Control Committee, an international coalition of doctors and scientists which has presented data to the European Parliament.

Calling for a ban, she told The Guardian: "In Europe we have banned flavours from cigarettes because we know it attracts young people to smoking. Cigarettes should taste like cigarettes not like candy. E-cigarettes taste like candy and, frequently, we see in small shops where they are sold, e-cigarettes on one side and candy on the other. Of course it attracts children."

The move to ease concerns among British vapers comes after reports in the US of a 'mystery lung disease' doctors think may be caused by vaping.

In reaction, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced an 'emergency executive action' to ban the sale of flavoured e-cigarette products.

President Donald Trump also said he would be backing a federal ban on thousands of e-cig flavours.

Public Health England has warned people of the myths surrounding vaping. Credit: PA
Public Health England has warned people of the myths surrounding vaping. Credit: PA

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the number of possible cases of severe respiratory illness from people who vape or use e-cigarettes now stands at around 380 across 33 states in the US.

And while the nationwide investigation led by the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration has not been able to link the illnesses with any specific products, a large percentage of those who have become ill reported using cannabis-derived vaping products with THC - while a much smaller group said they had only vaped nicotine.

Prof Linda Bauld, a public health expert at Edinburgh University, told The Guardian: "It seems highly unlikely that widely available nicotine-containing vaping products, particularly of the type regulated in Europe, are causing these cases.

"All the evidence to date suggests that illicit marijuana vaping products (THC oils) are the cause. In particular, a compound called tocopherol acetate may be the culprit."

For more information about the myths surrounding e-cigarettes, click here.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: uk news, Smoking, vaping

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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