- E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking – in the UK, use of e-cigarettes is limited almost entirely to those who are already using, or have used, tobacco.
- E-cigarettes do not result in normalisation of smoking – there is no evidence that either nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or e-cigarette use has resulted in renormalisation of smoking. None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people.
- E-cigarettes and quitting smoking - among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking.
- E-cigarettes and long-term harm - the possibility of some harm from long-term e-cigarette use cannot be dismissed due to inhalation of the ingredients other than nicotine, but is likely to be very small, and substantially smaller than that arising from tobacco smoking. With appropriate product standards to minimise exposure to the other ingredients, it should be possible to reduce risks of physical health still further. Although it is not possible to estimate the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes precisely, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.
The report acknowledges the need for proportionate regulation, but suggests that regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers. A regulatory strategy should take a balanced approach in seeking to ensure product safety, enable and encourage smokers to use the product instead of tobacco, and detect and prevent effects that counter the overall goals of tobacco control policy.These are all the things a lot of vapers have been trying to get across to regulators and politicians, and to get the media to report, for a long time now. But not many have listened, and many of those who have listened have dismissed it and told us we don't know what we're talking about. Having this report to back it up will hopefully add quite a lot of weight to our arguments, and the hopefully the report will have as much influence as their report on cigarettes from 1962 which was among the first to show the harmful effects of smoking.
I'm also very happy to see that this has gotten the attention of the media already: Smokers Urged to Switch to E-Cigarettes by British Medical Group (NY Times), U.K. Report Advocates Substituting E-Cigarettes for Tobacco (Wall Street Journal), Doctors: Give E-Cigarettes To Smokers (Sky News). Actually... just google "royal college of physicians e-cigarettes" and see for yourself. Now I'm just waiting for Norwegian media to catch up.
I haven't had the time to read the whole report but they've put up a pretty good summary in the summary of the report that I have to say is bloody great and I recommend reading it... and then bookmark it so you can link it to anyone trying to tell you vaping isn't the best thing for public health since soap.