Smoking can be controlled – expert
LONDON: Easier access to better smoking alternatives woulf usher the decline of smoking prevalence, according to a British physician and tobacco control expert.
“Governments should make e-cigarettes easily available, introduce modest regulations to reduce the risk of irresponsible marketing and product safety approaches, and give a medical endorsement,” said Dr. John Britton, director of the United Kingdom Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, stressing that these were considered the key approaches for countries to adopt if they want to see smoking rates decline.
A member of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Tobacco Advisory Group and of the board of trustees of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Britton said “clinical trials have demonstrated that vaping is probably the most effective way to quit smoking… The long-term harms of e-cigarette use are not known, but they will be substantially less than those of continued smoking or of attempting to quit unaided and then, as is usually the case, failing.”
“Electronic cigarettes are a game changer — there is no going back from that. The whole market in nicotine delivery has been revolutionized by these products and I just hope that there are even more exciting products on the way,” he added.
“Smoking prevalence in the UK is falling fast, and faster than in the US and Australia where vaping is not endorsed by national authorities. Smoking decline in the UK will have generated savings to the National Health Service,” Britton noted.
Public Health England (PHE) and the RCP have both concluded that e-cigarettes are around 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes and can serve as a potential smoking cessation aid. ASH data suggest that there are currently 3.6 million vapers in the UK — about half the number of smokers.
According to the March 2020 PHE “Vaping in England” evidence update, smoking among adults in England had continued to decline over the past 10 years and in 2019 was around 15 percent. Most adults use vaping products to help them quit smoking.
The PHE concluded that e-cigarettes might be contributing to falling smoking rates among adults and young people in the UK.
The UK Tobacco Control Plan 2017-2022 clearly states the British government’s intention to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products, particularly e-cigarettes.
The British government said it welcomed innovation that would reduce the harms caused by smoking.
Japan has seen a remarkable drop in its smoking rate, which has accelerated in recent years with the entry of heated tobacco products in the market. In 2005, 49 percent of men and 14 percent of women in Japan smoked.
In 10 years, the country’s smoking rate has decreased to 18.2 percent of the total population, results of the 2018 State of Smoking Survey show.