Health officials in Britain are now endorsing e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking for the first time – saying they are 95-percent safer than tobacco equivalents.
In October, legislation that will ban under-18s from buying e-cigarettes in the UK will be passed, in part because their long-term health effects are still unknown.
“We echo the views of PHE and support the original intention of The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to regulate e-cigarettes as medicinal products as an aid to smoking cessation”, said the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
The report adds that almost half the population do not realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking. University of Southern California which said this week that U.S. teens who tried electronic cigarettes might be more than twice as likely to move on to smoking conventional cigarettes as those who have never tried the devices.
However, the British Medical Association, which has called for curbs on the use of e-cigarettes, wants to see greater regulation. Results showed that students who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to report that they had begun smoking tobacco products, like regular cigarettes and cigars, during follow-ups at six and 12 months.
The review highlighted that nearly all of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Britain are current or ex-smokers. A Welsh Government spokesperson told the BBC: “We are concerned the use of e-cigarettes may renormalise smoking, especially for a generation who have grown up in a largely smoke-free society”.
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “This survey provides further confirmation that regular use of electronic cigarettes is still low and largely confined to young people who are already smokers”. Professor Ann McNeill, of King’s College London and another independent author of the review, said e-cigarettes could be a “game changer in public health”. E-cigarettes, which have been around about 10 years, are popular among youths. The study also found out that passive smoking due to e-cigarettes was also less harmful, Fox News reported. The study was commissioned by Public Health England or PHE.