Public Health England has unleashed a bombshell report that is only beginning to reverberate within the medical and non-medical communities alike. The recently released report was created my medical experts after a thorough review of all the data on hand. The meticulous research brought about a conclusion that, while it isn’t a surprise to us here at ECCR, shocked many who are on the fence about electronic cigarettes. The bottom line of the report is that Public Health England believes ecigs are 95% safer than smoking.
Another way of putting this is that the agency believes traditional tobacco cigarettes are 20 times more harmful than electronic cigarettes. That is a huge number and it is remarkable in its own right that anyone has nailed down a specific number for this issue. As you may know already, the debate around electronic cigarettes has been raging fast and furious. This has rendered a lot of experts very cautious to declare their views one way or another, especially by putting specific numbers into play.
Not this time, however. This report clearly states that, while the potential negative effects of vaping aren’t completely clear as of this time, they are incredibly comfortable comparing ecigs to analogue cigarettes. In doing so, they see such a huge gap between the potential dangers that ecigs MAY have and the well-documented dangers that tobacco cigarettes DO have. They go as far as recommending that the UK’s National Health Service give out free ecigs as one of their quit smoking aids.
This type of support is simply remarkable and even more so because of the source. Public Health England is an executive agency of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom, which basically means it is an arm of the government there. This isn’t some biased group who if funded by interest groups, this is an agency that is specifically looking out for the best interests of the citizens in the United Kingdom. When they recommend giving out free ecigs to help smokers, it isn’t because they want to help the bottom line of electronic cigarette companies. They believe ecigs will work great as quit smoking aids and that every smoker should have them. We agree, especially if they start out with a good brand.
Public Health England: 76,000 Lives At Stake
According to Public Health England, 76,000 lives could be saved each year if all smokers made the switch to electronic cigarettes. “Smoking remains England’s number one killer and the best thing a smoker can do is to quit completely, now and forever,” asserted Professor Kevin Fenton.
Fenton serves Public Health England as its director of health and wellbeing and he sees a clear advantage that ecigs have for smokers right now.
“E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm” insists Professor Fenton.
Of course the major holdup with presenting ecigs this way is that they aren’t licensed as quit smoking aids as of yet. This prevents doctors from outright telling their patients to make the switch, although we know of some who do so anyway. As Professor Fenton explains it, “The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting.” Fenton went on to say that ecigs could “absolutely” be used as quit smoking aids, and we have seen the data bare that out ourselves.
The perception problem that we are constantly battling is that of comparing electronic cigarettes to not smoking at all. It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t take anything into your lungs because it may be harmful, but smokers already experience a frighteningly low quit rate that that isn’t the option for most. They may try nicotine gum or the patch, or even cold turkey, but in the vast majority of cases that simply doesn’t work. Only in the past several years have smokers been exposed to a mainstream product that could actually help them make a lifestyle change, by switching to vapor.
That leaves us with the battle of what an ideal world would be versus what actually happens in the real world. Because in the real world there are millions of smokers and each day over a thousand of them are dying because of smoking-related illnesses. This priority should be to reduce this massive number and give people a chance to survive, even if it means they are vaping instead of smoking rather than doing neither. The reality governs the risk factor that tells us that the more people switch to vaping, the more they stand a chance to avoid the death sentence of traditional tobacco smoke.
A Huge Step Forward For Ecigs
Here we finally are seeing an impact of this rational logic in the government sphere. It is a huge step forward to see our brothers and sisters in the UK take a stance that could help so many people. There have already been pilot programs in North East England and Leicester that recommend ecigs as quit smoking aids.
If they actually succeed in getting a free ecigs program up and running in the future, that could be incredibly influential on the public health level. With medical care having long been socialized in the UK, it almost surprises us that we haven’t seen this sooner.
It is certainly a lost less expensive to give out electronic cigarettes than to try to save the lives of cancer patients decades later.
All in all this is great news for the electronic cigarette movement around the world. We are used to having to battle against faulty reporting and lobbyist groups that are pushing politicians to see ecigarettes in the same way they see traditional tobacco cigarettes. We believe that slowly but surely, the truth always does come to light. Here that would be the amazing ability of electronic cigarettes to help so many people who are struggling with their addiction to traditional tobacco products. It’s starting to creep out there bit by bit, although there is still a long way to go.
We applaud Public Health England for taking an objective look at all the material out there and keeping the consumer in mind as they stake out their opinions. It is clear through the language they use that their concern is in saving the lives of smokers, not dilly-dallying on the finer points that are still up for debate. The full extent of electronic cigarettes and their impact is still being released, but in the meantime we stand with Public Health England in urging all smokers to take a chance on ecigs so they can see firsthand how lifechanging the switch to vapor can really be.