Vape Business Ireland (VBI), Ireland’s largest vaping trade association, has welcomed a statement issued last week by the UK’s Committee on Toxicity (COT) of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment on a review it conducted on the potential toxicological risks from electronic nicotine (and non-nicotine) delivery systems (E(N)NDS – e-cigarettes).
The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health and other UK Government Departments and Agencies on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals. The review was conducted on request from the UK Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.
The statement on the review concluded that found that vaping is “likely to be associated with a reduction in overall risk of adverse health effects” compared to FMCs [cigarettes]. The statement concluded that “the use of E(N)NDS products, produced according to appropriate manufacturing standards and used as recommended, as a replacement for CC [conventional cigarette] smoking, is likely to be associated with a reduction in overall risk of adverse health effects, although the magnitude of the decrease will depend on the effect in question”.
A VBI spokesperson said: “This new assessment on vaping aligns with the current evidence on vaping relative safety. Vaping is less harmful than smoking, is a viable alternative for Irish smokers and if new Minister of State in the Department of Health Frank Feighan is still aiming for a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025, it’s time his Government acknowledge research such as this and support smokers and vapers”.
Commenting on the Science Media Centre, several UK based public health experts have welcomed the statement on the review. Former Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies, University of Nottingham, and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, Professor John Britton said: “The findings of this new report confirm that while not harmless, e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than smoking tobacco. This conclusion firmly endorses the UK policy of recommending vaping as a practical and effective means for smokers to prevent harm from continued nicotine use, and provide welcome, authoritative reassurance that for smokers who find it difficult to quit smoking, vaping is the obvious next best option.”
Reader in Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London, Dr Nicholas Hopkinson said: “This supports the current UK consensus. Most people who vape are either smokers trying to quit or ex-smokers. Smokers who switch completely to vaping will get a substantial health benefit. Continued regulation of e-cigarette manufacture, contents and marketing including via the provisions of the EU Tobacco Products Directive is important as well as efforts to identify and reduce or eliminate any toxic components in e-cigarette vapour to minimise the remaining risk as far as possible.”
Researcher at the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London Nicotine Research Group, Dr Debbie Robson said: “We welcome the COT’s comprehensive report and recommendations. Around three and a half million people in the UK vape and for those who do so exclusively, they can be reassured that by switching completely from smoking to vaping, they are doing the best thing for their health and wellbeing. In line with PHE commissioned annual evidence reviews that our group produce, those who both vape and smoke should be encouraged to stop smoking as soon as they can.”