Vaping casualties in the US


It has been almost impossible to escape the dramatic press reports in early September about vaping-related illness and death in the United States.

A number of UK academics and leaders in tobacco control have provided evidence-based responses in an attempt to reassure vapers and to avert a crisis of people losing confidence in vapes and relapsing back to smoking.

The message needs to go out not just to ex-smokers and those considering quitting, but also to healthcare workers who the public rely on for evidence-based advice.

"Nicotine-containing flavoured vaping products are almost certainly not the main cause. These products have been available for a decade and have been used by around 10 million Americans (primarily to quit or cut down smoking) with few adverse effects."

Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health, University of Edinburgh

"While evidence about the precise cause of the recent spate of vaping lung disease in the USA is still being evaluated, it appears that cases were mainly seen in young users of e-cigarettes who bought bootlegged products illegally that contained cannabis ingredients."

Dr Lion Shahab, Associate Professor in Health Psychology, University College London

This message below from Public Health England should guide all Stop Smoking Service providers and commissioners:

"As we approach Stoptober, amidst reports of an outbreak in the US of serious lung disease that reported as linked to vaping, smokers may well be wondering if e-cigarettes are still a good way to quit.

A full investigation is not yet available but indications are that these cases have been linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or homemade, some containing cannabis products like THC or synthetic cannabinoids like Spice, and others Vitamin E acetate oil.

This is not the same as using UK regulated nicotine products. Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any adverse effects.

Public Health England’s advice remains that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking. Using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette makes it much more likely someone will quit successfully than relying on willpower alone three studies this year have found them twice as effective as NRT alone. But it is important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances."


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