United Kingdom

Despite turmoil, UK succeeds with smoking strategy

“The most comprehensive review of vaping risks to date confirms the United Kingdom is backing the right horse when it comes to smoking cessation,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).

Commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the research was conducted at King’s College London. It found that vaping poses ‘a small fraction of the health risks of smoking’. It also concluded the use of vaping products rather than smoking leads to a ‘substantial reduction’ in exposure to toxicants that promote cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular disease.

“The UK has adopted a progressive public health strategy, known as Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR), and it’s working. Smoking is fast becoming less popular in the UK, with vaping now responsible for tens of thousands of ex-smokers each year,” says Ms Loucas.

CAPHRA says, significantly, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy, Dr Ian Walker, believes the latest report highlights a growing body of research. He says, ‘showing that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking and can help people who smoke to stop’.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Debbie Robson, went even further, saying ‘helping people switch from smoking to vaping should be considered a priority if the Government is to achieve a smoke-free 2030 in England.’

“Every year smoking causes around 55,000 cancer deaths in the UK. That’s why Cancer Research UK supports balanced, evidence-based regulation on e-cigarettes from the UK government. It’s all about maximising the chances of people quitting smoking, while minimising the risk of uptake from non-smokers and young people,” says Ms Loucas.

Titled ‘Nicotine Vaping In England: 2022 Evidence Update’, the King’s College report has also gained support from the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Its chief executive Deborah Arnott has reiterated ‘the evidence is clear that vaping poses a small fraction of the risk of smoking’.

Recently, ASH released a report showing a ‘vaping revolution’ in Britain over the past decade. The report, based on ASH’s annual Smokefree GB survey of more than 13,000 adults, confirmed that the main reason vapers use e-cigarettes is to quit smoking and prevent them from returning to the deadly habit.

The ASH survey goes a long way to quash constant scaremongering internationally that vaping is an onramp to smoking, not an offramp, with over 90% of UK vapers ex-smokers or current smokers

“Almost everyone vaping is doing so to keep off smoking or reduce it, and all the data proves the success of the UK’s THR approach. Cancer Research UK and ASH support it as a considerably safer alternative to smoking. Now, the UK’s latest independent scientific report also concludes vaping is nowhere near as risky – not even close.

“The UK is living proof that if you provide adult smokers with reasonable access to vaping products, they will switch, thrive, and survive. While the UK’s political and economic happenings may not be the envy of the world, their success at crunching cancer-causing smoking is to be admired,” says Nancy Loucas.

The Right2Switch petition urging the WHO to respect consumer rights and end its lies against vaping has now been signed by over 10,000 people. It can be viewed and signed at https://change.org/v4v-petition

Boasting nearly 15,000 testimonials, CAPHRA is calling on those who’ve quit cigarettes through smoke-free nicotine alternatives to tell their story on www.righttovape.org

The Fifth Asia Harm Reduction Forum (AHRF 2022) will take place on 28 October. For further information and to register for free, THR supporters and vaping advocates from all around the world are encouraged to visit: http://www.asiaharmreductionforum.online/


  • CAPHRA remains committed to advocating for the rights of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region to access and use evidence-based, regulated, and properly marketed harm reduction products as a means of reducing the devastating impact of smoking-related diseases. We encourage further research, open dialogue, and collaboration with governments, health organisations, and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for public health.  
  • The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use. DISCLAIMER
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