Public Health England's review into e cigs - Our response
Posted on 6 February 2018 by Matt Brown.
At JAC Vapour, we welcome this latest endorsement of e cigarettes as the massive public health and harm reduction opportunity they represent. Yet again, Public Health England are showing global leadership in forging a path towards full acceptance of vaping as a useful and effective tool in the battle against continued tobacco use. They once again reiterate that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.
While many of the findings of the review are incredibly positive, such as a renewed finding that vaping represents a small fraction of the health risk of smoking, and that the risk to bystanders is negligible, it also highlights where there is still work to be done.
Sadly, 40% of smokers are still to even try e cigs, and over half of smokers believe falsely that vaping is as harmful as smoking, or don’t know, so it is clear that our message is still failing to penetrate everywhere, something which cannot be helped by repeated media scare stories written off the back of shaky studies and biased reporting.
If electronic cigarettes are to achieve their full potential in helping to prevent the 79,000 smoking related deaths in England each year, we must rise to that challenge, continuing to produce outstanding products, working with government and public health bodies where appropriate, and making sure that the public is informed of the value of making the switch to vaping.
The growth of e cigarettes remains a consumer led insurgency. No taxpayer’s money has been used to develop and launch these products. The medicinal route to market mentioned in the report is expensive and cumbersome, and by the time any product is approved by the MHRA it will be outdated.
One specific area that remains of concern is the heavy-handed advertising restrictions that currently prevent e cig manufacturers from being able to communicate fully with the millions of smokers out there. All of the hard work that has been done up until now on evidence-based research will be for nought if a truly effective and far, far safer alternative cannot be offered to them.
We look forward to seeing how this latest review shapes the public conversation, and how it helps to steer future regulatory framework. As board members of the IBVTA (Independent British Vape Trade Association), we work behind the scenes to drive and challenge vaping legislation and advertising standards nationwide.
Neil McCallum, JAC’s CEO, also has specific responsibility within the IBVTA to liaise with the Scottish Government to meet regularly as part of the ongoing committee to educate and challenge perception of vaping products.
We’ll keep up the good work at our end by continuing to design award winning hardware and e-liquids right here in the UK and push forward with our aim for smokers to be offered true and viable alternatives to smoking.