Public Health England Fighting False Rumours Around E-Cigarettes
Public Health England has always been an advocate of e-cigarettes, as they were one of the first government agencies in the world to show how much better they were than cigarettes.
If you have heard that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes, then you have heard PHE's most famous statement on e-cigarettes.
In their latest look at e-cigarettes they tackle the rumours around e-cigarettes, the new studies and more.
Public Health England’s support of E-cigarettes
In the report Public Health England, the UK’s government health agency, looks at the latest perception of e-cigarettes by smokers, and found that over 50% of smokers now believe that e-cigarettes are as bad, or worse, than cigarettes!
This is very much not true, and PHE went so far to release a press release to reassure all smokers that e-cigarettes are a much better alternative that smoking.
As PHE said in 2015 and re-affirmed in this latest report, e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes.
But it's not just PHE who thinks this, Cancer Research UK also states this too, and they back it up with another study they conducted, showing that e-cigarette users have up to 97% less toxins in their bodies than smokers.
The reason that e-cigarettes are so much less harmful than cigarettes comes down to one fact, e-cigarettes only contain 4 ingredients, Propane glycol, Vegetable glycerine, flavouring and nicotine. To read more about the long known safety of these ingredients click here.
The only ingredient that will have an effect on a user is nicotine, and there is even some evidence that nicotine isn't that dangerous. In a study on the effect of nicotine (without the tobacco) it was found to be "similar to caffeine" in its effects on the body.
It is not the nicotine in cigarettes that kills then, it's the 4000+ chemicals and 50+ carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) in every cigarette. These chemicals and carcinogens are what make cigarettes the no.1 preventable killer in the world.
By removing all these chemicals e-cigarettes are able to get smokers the nicotine they need, but without all the danger.
The US outbreak effecting UK E-liquids
With such government health agencies and large charities supporting e-cigarettes and scientific evidence to show how e-cigarettes are no-where near as bad as cigarettes, it seems odd that people would believe they are just as bad. However the crisis in the US with tampered e-liquids caused a huge spike in worry and distrust in e-cigarettes.
At the end of 2019 there was a spate of hospitalisations and even deaths linked to vaping in the United States, which caused a panic and top US officials called for a total ban. It made international headlines and in the UK many people began to worry.
In the end it turned out that these deaths and hospitalisations were due to e-liquid that had been illegally modified to vaporise marijuana, and one of the ingredients added called vitamin E acetate was causing damage to the lungs.
The only good news is that this worrying trend never made it to the UK, and no reports of deaths from vaping have been reported.
One of the reasons that the UK was spared this was due to our robust laws and regulations on e-liquids. Ever since 2016 when a new set of laws were placed on e-cigarettes (called the TPD) every e-liquid with nicotine in has to be independently tested and approved before it is sold.
Because of these laws vitamin E acetate was never allowed to be added to e-liquids in the UK, due to the now obvious harm they can do.
Refuting the lies
PHE wants to make it clear that that e-cigarettes are a much better option than cigarettes, and definitely not as bad or worse than cigarettes. To do this they released a press release and have been contacting all the different parts of the NHS to make this clear.
In the press release they go on to say “Smokers should continue to be encouraged to try regulated nicotine vaping products” as e-cigarettes have proven to be one of the most effective ways to get smokers to give up cigarettes for good.
PHE not only wanted to make sure people knew that e-cigarettes were much safer than cigarettes, but have been asking doctors and other quit smoking services to make sure they are including e-cigarettes in their options.
They are also suggesting that mental health trusts now incorporate e-cigarettes into their list of options and allow them to suggest e-cigarettes to those who need it. This is a great step as those with metal health issues are the most at risk of smoking and smoking related deaths, and if e-cigarettes can help them keep the nicotine they need, but get rid of the rest, it could do a great deal of good.
To make it clear that PHE was fully behind e-cigarettes, they got the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty to go on record and say: “The best thing a smoker can do for their health is stop smoking completely. Electronic cigarettes can help some people quit smoking and are a safer alternative.”
How did so many people believe this then?
If no-one was hurt in the UK from vaping, the leading government agency on health supports e-cigarettes and there are regulations making sure that UK e-liquids are as safe as possible, why do over half of smokers now believe that e-cigarettes are as bad or worse than smoking?
It comes down to headlines, and the human instinct to remember the bad news and forget the good. If asked many of the UK public would probably remember the breaking news that the US was having issues with vaping, but they probably wouldn’t remember the updates that they had figured out what was causing it.
The same can be said for any other headline, most will remember the first bad headline but never the retraction or the good news that follows it.
But human instinct can’t be wholly blamed for why smokers believe the falsehood that e-cigarettes are as bad as cigarettes, it also comes down to what news sells. Media knows that bad or shocking news sell more papers, so it really is more profitable to publish bad news.
If you or someone you know has been trying to quit smoking, but has been put off e-cigarettes by the news or by thinking they aren’t any better than cigarettes then send them this article!
By making the switch to e-cigarettes a smoker can get the taste and feel of a cigarette, plus the nicotine they need, all without the 4000+ chemicals that are hiding in cigarettes.