'The emergence of electronic cigarettes and the likely arrival of more effective nicotine-containing devices currently in development provides a radical alternative to tobacco, and evidence to date suggests that smokers are willing to use these products in substantial numbers' - states Authors Professor John Britton and Dr Ilze Bogdanovica, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, the University of Nottingham, published in a recent report on Electronic cigarettes - commissioned by Public Health England.
As stated in the report 'Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.' What is interesting about this report is its open approach. The report is insightful and is a positive argument for further healthy informed debate on the use of electronic cigarettes. The key summary and conclusions from the report were as follows:
Summary and conclusions
Smoking kills, and millions of smokers alive today will die prematurely from their smoking unless they quit. This burden falls predominantly on the most disadvantaged in society. Preventing this death and disability requires measures that help as many of today’s smokers to quit as possible. The option of switching to electronic cigarettes as an alternative and much safer source of nicotine, as a personal lifestyle choice rather than medical service, has enormous potential to reach smokers currently refractory to existing approaches.
The emergence of electronic cigarettes and the likely arrival of more effective nicotine-containing devices currently in development provides a radical alternative to tobacco, and evidence to date suggests that smokers are willing to use these products in substantial numbers. Electronic cigarettes, and other nicotine devices, therefore offer vast potential health benefits, but maximising those benefits while minimising harms and risks to society requires appropriate regulation, careful monitoring, and risk management.
However, the opportunity to harness this potential into public health policy, complementing existing comprehensive tobacco control policies, should not be missed.