Vaping Position Statement
“If you smoke, vaping is much safer; If you don’t smoke, don’t vape; Marketing vapes to children is utterly unacceptable.” Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England (2023)
We are delighted to be in a position to share with you the (EoE ADPH nicotine vaping position statement.) The document has been developed as you will be aware, to help support and inform local conversations across our workforce, our partners and stakeholders, and our local communities. It may also support local policy decision making and development.
Our Position On Vaping
- Tobacco remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death worldwide
(WHO, 2023) with over 7,000 people in the East of England dying each year from smoking- related disease (OHID, 2023). Smoking tobacco is also a significant driver of health inequalities (ASH, 2019). Our priority for tobacco control is to reduce the number of people who smoke a known uniquely lethal product.
- The evidence is clear that, for smokers, vaping is a much less harmful option, and in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking (GOV.UK, 2022). We must ensure that vaping is an affordable and accessible alternative for smokers who want to reduce their risk of dying from a smoking-related disease.
- We support the Government’s plan to create a smokefree generation (GOV.UK, 2023). This plan critically identifies the important role vapes play in helping adult smokers to stop smoking.
- At the same time, we recognise that vaping is not risk-free (GOV.UK, 2022) and therefore vaping must be presented as an alternative to, or replacement for smoking, not a recreational activity which is appealing to the wider non-smoking population.
- Vaping is not for children and marketing vapes to children is utterly unacceptable (CMO, 2023). Whilst vaping can help people to quit smoking, those who don’t smoke should not vape. We will shift the social norms for children and young people away from vaping, reduce the number of young people accessing vape products and the amount of non-compliant products available for sale. We will work closely with our Trading Standards colleagues to support compliance with regulations and to take enforcement action when necessary. We will also continue to advocate for tighter e-cigarette regulations where needed, ensuring the right balance is taken around protecting young people and supporting smokers to quit.
- The number of adults who now incorrectly believe e-cigarettes are as, or more harmful
than cigarettes has increased (ASH, 2023). “Anxiety over youth vaping is obscuring the fact that switching from smoking will be much better for an individual’s health. We must not be complacent about youth vaping and further regulation is needed, but so too is work to ensure more adults stop smoking and vaping is an effective means of doing that.” (McNeill cited in ASH, 2023). We therefore support the delivery of evidence-based communications among stakeholders and the public to widen understanding and to ensure smokers understand that switching to vaping is a significantly less harmful option than continuing to smoke.