E-cigarettes must be recognised in new UK Tobacco Control Plan

New anti-tobacco strategy should recognise growing popularity of the devices among smokers looking to quit

London, January 6 2017 – Fontem Ventures today welcomed a letter from over 1000 British doctors requesting the UK Government immediately release its latest tobacco control strategy, and urged the Government to include e-cigarettes as an integral component of the plan in light of mounting scientific evidence around the impact of vaping on smokers’ health and tobacco consumption.

“The last Tobacco Control Plan was issued in 2011 and the entire landscape has changed significantly since then,” said Marc Michelsen, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Fontem Ventures.

“Today, more than 3 million smokers and former smokers in the UK are using vaping devices to reduce or cease their tobacco consumption and around 1.4 million of them have managed to quit cigarettes entirely by vaping – at no cost to the NHS. Across Europe, 6.1 million have quit thanks to e-cigarettes while more than 9 million more have cut down their consumption using the devices. Any new tobacco control strategy must take these profound changes and facts into consideration.”

The letter, addressed to Theresa May and published in the British Medical Journal, was signed by more than 1000 doctors, including heads of royal colleges and public health institutions, reminding May of her commitment to “fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others”. The signatories point out that half of that difference in life expectancy is caused by smoking.

“We know that public endorsement of e-cigarettes by health institutions like Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians, Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK can only go so far,” said Michelsen. “Misleading science and persistent scaremongering in the media unfortunately continues to undermine the efforts of these organisations.

At the same time, consumer confidence in e-cigarettes is declining rather than increasing, despite overwhelming evidence that these devices can play a very real and legitimate role in tobacco harm reduction. What the Government must do, therefore, is ensure that research around vaping and smoking cessation is included in its Tobacco Control strategy, and that it offers clear guidance to both smokers and cessation clinics around the country.”

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