How vaping could be used to drive non-smoking societies

As part of ongoing efforts to curb the number of people who smoke cigarettes, a group of British MPs is looking to relax vaping laws. They say if e-cigarettes become more socially acceptable, less people will smoke and cause harm to themselves and others.

Can vaping be used as a weapon to encourage non-smoking societies?

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A report by the committee of MPs said the government should support making e-cigarettes more widely used and even consider allowing e-cigarettes on public transport.

Public Health England says e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco and that there is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking cigarettes.

The report comes as part of an inquiry into e-cigarettes by the Science and Technology Committee, which is examining the impact of electronic cigarettes on human health.

The MPs’ suggestions:

  • greater freedom for industry to advertise e-cigarettes
  • relaxing of regulations and tax duties on e-cigarettes to reflect their relative health benefits
  • an annual review of the health effects of e-cigarettes, as well as heat-not-burn products
  • a debate on vaping in public spaces, such as on public transport and in offices
  • e-cigarettes licensed as medical devices
  • a rethink on limits on refill strengths and tank sizes
  • an end to the ban on snus – an oral tobacco product which is illegal in the UK under EU rules

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Health impact of e-cigarettes

Approximately 2.9 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, 7.4 million people (15.1 percent of people aged 18 years and above) are classified as current smokers, according 2017 data from the Office for National Statistics.

Studies so far haven’t concluded the long-term health impacts of smoking e-cigarettes. However Public Health England says e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful to health than smoking tobacco. It also says there is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking cigarettes.

A Royal College of Physicians (RCP) report analyzing dozens of studies concluded that the health hazard from long-term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes was unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco.

The RCP recommended that e-cigarettes be promoted widely as a substitute for smoking in order to benefit people’s health and stop them smoking.

Vaping around the world

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  • Though the legal status of e-cigarettes in pending in most countries, in 2015, around two thirds of major nations had regulated e-cigarettes in some way.
  • European Parliament passed regulations on e-cigarettes in 2014 requiring quality controls for vapes and e-liquids.
  • In the United States, at least 48 states and 2 territories have banned e-cigarette sales to minors.
  • Brazil, Singapore, the Seychelles, and Uruguay have outright banned e-cigarettes.

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