A new independent report on e-cigarettes, Nicotine E-Cigarettes in England: 2022 Evidence Update, was recently published on the UK government's website. The report, commissioned by Public Health England and led by academics from King's College London and a group of international collaborators, is the most comprehensive report to date. Its main focus is a systematic evaluation of the evidence on the health risks of nicotine e-cigarettes.
The report mentions that e-cigarettes continue to be the most common and successful smoking cessation aid for UK smokers, and are far less harmful and addictive than traditional cigarettes.
The report notes that in 2019, only 11% of UK regions offer e-cigarette-related smoking cessation services to smokers, while in 2021 this figure has increased to 40%, in addition to 15% of regions indicating that they will offer this service to smokers in the future.
Meanwhile, between April 2020 and March 2021, only 5.2% of all people trying to quit smoking are using e-cigarettes on the recommendation of the government. However, the results show that the success rate of e-cigarette-assisted smoking cessation is 64.9%, ranking first among all smoking cessation methods. In other words, many smokers are actively choosing to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
In addition, the report also showed that e-cigarette users had significantly lower biomarkers of toxicant exposure related to cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases than cigarette users, further validating the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes.
The report calls for accurate communication of information about e-cigarettes in order to correct misperceptions about them. This is because the public's misperceptions about e-cigarettes can prevent them from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. For example, when warning minors to stay away from e-cigarettes, these warning messages should not be allowed to mislead adult smokers.
The report, the last in a series of independent reports on e-cigarettes, means that the available evidence is sufficient to help the UK government improve its tobacco control policies and promote e-cigarettes more efficiently to help it achieve its goal of a smoke-free society by 2030.