Banning flavoured e-cigarette ban could drive smokers BACK to smoking tobacco, say experts
- A proposed ban on E-cigarettes has awoken fears it may encourage smoking
- Public Health England fears a loss of the cessation devices will reduce quitters
- Fears of a smoking relapse come after the US has announced it will ban vapes
Banning flavoured vaping products in the UK could drive smokers back to cigarettes, health experts have warned.
Responding to Donald Trump’s plan to axe flavourings in the US due to concerns about youths taking up e-cigarettes, Public Health England said they helped smokers switch from more dangerous tobacco.
PHE has recently come under fire from academics over its stance on e-cigarettes, with some saying it wilfully ignores evidence that vaping is harmful. Martin Dockrell, of PHE, said there are plans to publish a comprehensive evidence review on the safety of e-cigarettes next year.
PHE has raised concerns that by removing vaping as an option for some smokers who wish to quit, a widespread relapse may occur
He said: ‘E-cigarette flavours are an important advantage that vapes have over smoking and play an important part in encouraging smokers to switch.
‘Similar choice of flavours exist in the US and UK and yet we do not have the same levels of youth vaping here. Our much lower rates are due to our much stricter advertising regulations and possibly our lower nicotine cap.
‘Banning flavours would likely provoke vapers to relapse back to smoking, leading to more adult smoking role models for young people, which we know is the key driver in young people starting to smoke.’
Professor John Newton, also of PHE, added: ‘[We have] always been clear that vaping is not without risks.
‘If you don’t smoke, don’t vape. The sooner you stop smoking completely the better.’
Vaping has officially been recorded as the cause of death in 6 recent and unique cases across the USA
Data published in February showed the number of children and young people trying vaping is on the rise. While overall use of e-cigarettes among young people remains low, the number who have ever tried it has almost doubled in four years.
A 2018 YouGov survey of more than 2,000 children showed that 11.7 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds had tried e-cigarettes, almost double the 6.5 per cent in 2014. And 3.4 per cent reported using e-cigarettes currently – more than double the 1.6 per cent in 2014.
Mr Trump, whose youngest son Barron is 13 years old, said of vaping: ‘We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected.’
The US Food and Drug Administration will now develop guidelines to remove from the market all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco. Mr Trump’s first public comments on vaping come as US health authorities investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
Dan Marchant, UK Vaping Industry Association board member, said: ‘It is a shame that the US President has been poorly advised on the facts. This decision is based on misleading information and will only serve to deter smokers from making a life-changing switch to a far less harmful alternative.’