Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes poses NO risk to the public and banning vaping indoors in 2015 was pointless, expert suggests
- Professor John Britton from the University of Nottingham made the claims today
- Consultant of respiratory medicine said no evidence passive vaping was harmful
- Also said forcing vapers to go outside beside tobacco smokers was insensitive
- Professor claimed it could encourage them to switch back to normal cigarettes
There is no evidence that inhaling second-hand vape smoke poses a risk to your health, experts have claimed.
And forcing users to go outside with traditional tobacco smokers only encourages them to switch back to normal cigarettes, they said.
Professor John Britton, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the University of Nottingham, suggested the 2015 ban on vaping indoors was pointless.
He said: ‘Vaping in an enclosed space… is a courtesy issue. There’s no evidence of harm to other people. Most of what comes out in the vapour is water.
‘It’s a courtesy issue, and if you send the vapers out to smoke or to vape with the smokers you are putting them directly into contact with the drug they are trying to quit. You wouldn’t send the methadone user out with the heroin addicts.’
Experts say there is no evidence that inhaling second-hand vape smoke poses a risk to your health (file image)
Professor Britton was speaking at a Science Media Centre briefing with a panel of experts about e-cigarette use following a spate of deaths in the US.
He claimed the Government does not recommend smoking shelters because they are expensive to install and legitimise e-cigarette use.
The panel did not say whether spaces should be available for smokers and vapers, only that employers should be encouraging their workforce not to smoke.
Public Health England (PHE) has said that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.
It has come under fire from some academics who say the organisation is wilfully ignoring mounting evidence that vaping is harmful.
In April Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said there are enough grounds for ‘serious concerns’ around vaping.
He said at the time: ‘We haven’t had e-cigarettes for long enough to know the true effects.’
The panel said it was a ‘no brainer’ to switch from smoking to vaping, but that non-smokers should not vape as it is not risk-free.
There were just 700,00 vapers in 2012 – a year after the electronic devices burst onto the scene as a ‘healthier’ alternative to cigarettes
Professor Britton added: ‘My position would be that e-cigarettes are not without harm, and long-term use will cause some damage, but the amount of that damage will be minimal relative to smoking.’
The panel also said it would be a ‘great shame’ if people were deterred from vaping by the situation in the US, where regulators are examining cases of vapers with oil-like substances in their lungs.
‘SMOKING MUST BE STAMPED OUT BY 2030’
The UK Government will aim to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to address preventable ill health.
Its green paper, released in July, said more needs to be done to improve public health.
The paper read: ‘Thanks to our concerted efforts on smoking, we now have one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe.
‘Yet, for the 14 percent of adults who still smoke, it’s the main risk to health.
Smokers are disproportionately located in areas of high deprivation. In Blackpool, one in four pregnant women smoke. In Westminster, it’s one in 50.’
The paper proposed offering stop-smoking help to all cigarette users who are admitted to NHS hospitals.
It said it wants to reduce the smoking rate to 12 per cent by 2022 and to zero by 2030.
‘This includes an ultimatum for industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete by 2030,’ the paper added, ‘with smokers quitting or moving to reduced risk products like e-cigarettes.’
A mystery lung disease linked to vaping has killed more than 20 people and hospitalised over 450 people.
The panel said the issue was specific to the US, with around three quarters of the cases involving cannabis products.
Prof McNeill said: ‘It would be a great shame if people are deterred from using e-cigarettes because what is happening in the US.
‘We obviously need to keep monitoring these data to see the impact of that news.’
Professor Britton was speaking alongisde Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, National Addiction Centre at King’s College London and Alan Boobis, Emeritus Professor of Toxicology at Imperial College London.
It comes after data revealed a record number of Britons were now hooked on e-cigarettes.
Figures show an estimated seven per cent of people in the UK regularly vape – up from 6.2 per cent in 2018.
This means 45 people took up the habit every hour in 2019, bringing the number of vapers from 3.2million to 3.6million in 12 months.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) polled more than 12,000 people to come to the conclusion.
The majority of vapers were ex-smokers (54 per cent), a third of whom claimed their main reason for using them was to help them quit cigarettes.
One in five said they took up the habit to prevent a relapse back to smoking while 13 per cent said it was a way to save money.
Fourteen per cent said they started smoking e-cigarettes because they simply enjoyed it.