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UK smokers are being encouraged by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to switch to e-cigarettes as a safe and effective way to stop smoking. In a report released by the well-respected medical group, eyebrows have been raised following conflicting reports from sources in the USA.
RCP has conducted several scientific studies to look deeply at the perceived harm and the benefits of e-cigarettes and their associated devices. While evidence shows that as a stop smoking aid, e-cigarettes are proven to be more harmful than other nicotine solutions such as patches, e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than regular tobacco cigarettes.
John Britton, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group, said in a statement:
“This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK. Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever.”
Over the pond, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has focused its attention on the hazards as opposed to any benefits. Teen smoking, which continues to be an issue in the states, has led to a ban in appealing flavours such as chocolate and cherry. The CDC also recently declared that e-cigarettes have now overtaken regular cigarettes in middle and high schools. For the US, the use of e-cigarettes in this age group and these concerns that they are a route to smoking, are overshadowing any perceived benefits to those wishing to stop.
Back in the UK, the RCP are confident that there is no evident that e-cigs are a gateway to young people smoking. Their report focuses on the benefits of getting smokers off regular cigarettes and reducing levels of tar and other cancer-causing chemicals.
What is also supporting the growth of e-cigarettes in the UK is the part regulation taking place. In 2015, the UK released voluntary standards for the manufacture, labelling and marketing of e-cigarette and vaping products including the banning of sale to minors.
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