A lot of controversy surrounds vaping and e-cigarettes. Much of it focuses on the potential health risks associated with the practise. However, despite the less than favourable publicity vaping often receives, MPs in the UK are calling for e-cigarette rules to be relaxed so they can be more widely used.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the term used to describe the practise of using an e-cigarette to breathe in nicotine in a vapour rather than getting it (nicotine) from a traditional cigarette. The e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that works by heating a liquid, usually containing a mixture of nicotine, additives and flavouring, and turning it into vapour, which is then inhaled.
Is vaping safe?
While vaping hasn’t been labelled “completely risk free” by the NHS, it’s still considered to be a lot safer than smoking. That’s mainly because vapers are not exposed to tar and carbon monoxide, unlike smokers of traditional cigarettes. It’s one of the main reasons why e-cigarettes are used by smokers to help them quit.
Furthermore, a review published by Public Health England (PHE) in February 2018 states that “vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking remains a good way to communicate the large difference in relative risk unambiguously so that more smokers are encouraged to make the switch from smoking to vaping.”
What are the current rules governing e-cigarettes in the UK?
At present, the UK has some of the strictest regulation for e-cigarettes in the world. They cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and adults are not allowed to buy them for anyone under 18. They also cannot be advertised online, in newspapers or on radio and television.
E-cigarette packaging also has strict limits too, designed to give consumers the information they need to make an informed choice.
Why are MPs calling for vaping rules to be relaxed?
A recent report by MPs has suggested that the rules governing e-cigarettes should be relaxed so they can be used by more people and become better accepted in society.
The report, by the science and technology MPs’ committee, even goes as far as to say that e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people give up smoking. Furthermore, the report encourages the government to review where e-cigarettes can and cannot be used. For example, it says rules governing their use in public places should be reconsidered, potentially paving the way for them to be used on buses and trains.
Right now, a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England do not allow vaping on their premises. The report says this is “unacceptable” given there is only “negligible health risk” from second-hand e-cigarette vapour.
Around 2.9 million people in the UK are thought to be currently using e-cigarettes, of which 470,000 are doing so to help them quit smoking. As a result, tens of thousands of people are successfully giving up smoking each year, the report says.
While the debate about the health implications of vaping will no doubt continue, this new report by MPs provides plenty of food for thought.
Stephen joined Premier Choice in 2006 as a Group Risk consultant and became Head of Group Risk in June 2013. In December 2017, Stephen also took over responsibility for the Protection division within Premier Choice and works to grow this in the same way he has the Group Risk division. Protection is a specialist area and fits well with his experience and expertise in the group risk market.