The report, Changing Behaviour: Electronic Cigarettes, notes that e-cigarettes are now the most popular quit-smoking devices in the UK and have the potential to boost quit attempts and increase success rates amongst smokers. It also highlights that there are 2.9 million vapers in the UK, 52 percent of which are now ex-smokers. Yet, despite this, 26 percent of current smokers erroneously believe that e-cigarettes are ‘as harmful or ‘more harmful’ than smoking – a challenge the Society wants to see addressed by:
- Improving education about the relative harms of smoking, nicotine and e-cigarettes, including public messaging campaigns about the relative risk profiles of tobacco and e-cigarettes, and the benefits of the devices for smoking cessation
- Offering e-cigarettes and technical support as part of stop smoking services and funding the services to support smokers to quitUsing policy interventions and fiscal measures to avoid taxation for e-cigarettes and ‘vape-free’ legislation, and promoting unrestricted advertising of factual information
- Regulating to promote product development — allowing e-cigarettes to further evolve and improve so they are safer, more appealing and satisfying
- Investing in research to continue to explore the effects of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation and to determine which factors promote a successful transition.
Speaking about the report, Marc Michelsen, Fontem Ventures said: “We’ve long been saying that smokers deserve better information about vaping products, so we welcome these concrete proposals to educate and inform the growing number of smokers who are confused about the differences between e-cigarettes and tobacco.”
According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), more and more smokers in the UK are coming to believe that e-cigarettes are harmful, with only 20 percent accurately thinking the devices are ‘a lot less harmful’ compared to 31 percent in 2015 – a problem ASH acknowledged as a ‘communications challenge’.
“Importantly, we are also delighted that the Society supports continued research and evolution of the vaping product category,” said Michelsen. “E-cigarettes are still comparatively new and we are always working hard to improve every aspect of our products to give smokers the satisfaction they are seeking.”