How Vaping is Viewed By The NHS
Today, vaping is bigger than ever, but there’s been much debate over the pros and cons of smoking e-cigarettes in the last few years. While many argue that they’re just as unhealthy for us as regular cigarettes, recent studies have shown that their effects are significantly less harmful. With all these conflicting opinions, we’ve decided to find out what Britain’s leading healthcare organisation have to say on the matter. So, what does the NHS really think to vaping?
Well, according to their Smokefree microsite, the NHS states that although e-cigarettes aren’t completely risk-free, they carry a fraction of the dangers of regular cigarettes. This is backed up by a recent independent review of evidence by Public Health England into the outcomes of long-term vaping, published on the UK government’s website, And although e-cigarettes contain some potentially harmful chemicals, the NHS states that their levels are notably lower than those in cigarettes (around 95% safer) and are therefore not associated with health risk.
The proof is in the puffing
Previously, similar studies have relied largely on animal testing or laboratory equipment to estimate the effects of e-cigarettes. Public Health England’s recent study, on the other hand, analysed 181 ‘real world’ participants and has since been described as a ‘landmark’, thanks to it being one of the first of its kind.
The study's volunteers provided urine, breath and saliva samples, as well as completing questionnaires. Those who had been using e-cigarettes were found with far lower levels of toxic chemicals and cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) when compared to those smoking traditional cigarettes.
However, the results for ‘combination users’ (those who vape but still smoke cigarettes regularly) showed that health risks were the same as those who solely smoke real cigarettes. Despite this, many will continue switching between the two in order to save money (e-cigarettes are generally much cheaper than the real thing).
Kicking the habit
Along with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), Varenicline and Bupropion, the NHS currently recommend vaping to smokers as a way of kicking the habit. When coupled with support from their Stop Smoking service, they say the use of e-cigarettes can be one of the most effective ways of waving goodbye to traditional smoking once and for all.
There has also been talk of e-cigarettes eventually becoming medicinally licensed products in the UK, which doctors would be able to prescribe to patients. However, nothing is in place at the moment. So if you want to start vaping in a bid to quit the hard stuff, you’ll still need to buy your e-cigarette.
Since e-cigarettes are still fairly new on the market, it’ll be a few years before the NHS know more about their safety, but Public Health England will continue to monitor the evidence as it develops.
So, there we have it - if you’re already a vaper there’s no need to stop. And if you’re thinking of ditching the real thing in favour of an e-cigarette, go right ahead. The NHS is currently all for it.