Last week the HIQA report was once again brought up in the news. However, the report’s recommendations in terms of the safeness and effectiveness of e-cigarettes were very disappointing to say the least.
Dr. Ryan states in the report that 1 in 3 people are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Despite some promising results, HIQA determined that there was not enough evidence at present to reliably demonstrate their effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation.
This statement is a concern as it is saying that e-cigarettes are helping people to QUIT but there’s not enough evidence to show they are effective at present. In saying this VIP and many other e-cigarette suppliers believe they are effective in aiding people to QUIT and have been for years. You can’t just state they are not effective but you’ve to go out there and listen to those who have used e-cigarettes as a means to quit.
Dr Máirín Ryan continued: “HIQA advises the Minister to await the results of ongoing trials before deciding whether to recommend e-cigarettes. A decision to advocate e-cigarette use should take into consideration any additional information on the long-term safety of e-cigarette use, and any emerging data in relation to concerns about the social normalisation of e-cigarettes leading to increased uptake among people who have never smoked, or later migration to tobacco cigarettes.”
Why do we need to wait for more trials when there is already enough evidence out there to suggest that e-cigarettes are in fact safer than smoking? Studies previously carried out by highly regarded bodies have shown us that vaping products are at least 95% less harmful than smoking. These studies also highlight that smokers are using them to quit and they present little or no harm to bystanders. With regards to waiting to see the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, we should look at this and say to ourselves what are the long-term effects of vaping when compared to those of smoking.
What e-cigarettes will do is denormalise smoking and if people vape then they will vape instead of smoking – would you prefer someone to smoke or to vape?
The facts that are widely available for vaping and e-cigarettes show us that vaping does not lead to smoking and does not normalise smoking. Therefore, the latest recommendations on HIQA appear to be solely based on opinions and not facts.
Taking a look at the proactive approach taken in the UK by the NHS and other anti-smoking bodies, they are endorsing e-cigarettes. The hospitals in the UK even have signs up saying smoking is prohibited but vaping is not.
The UK also have signs on streets to try and promote the effectiveness of e-cigarette use over smoking tobacco. For example, the signs below both promote e-cigarettes with one sign created by Cancer Research UK:
Can the Irish government at least look at what the British are doing to see if we can take their lead and try promote vaping to smokers in Ireland.
There is a product on the market right now that can help smokers reduce the harm they cause themselves. Surely this is worth looking into further and exploring all options instead of saying ‘let’s wait for more trials and see what happens’. We have enough evidence now in front of us to give smokers real facts about vaping and give them the products that can help them QUIT. Nearly 6,000 people died from smoke related illness last year in Ireland and we have a product that can help reduce these numbers.
Experts in the field of Tobacco Control who have no vested interest in e-cigarettes even see vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking:
Prof. John Britton, Chairperson of Tobacco Advisory Group & Royal College of Physicians UK states “If all smokers in Britain were to stop smoking and take up e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths of people who are alive today, it is a massive public health prize”.
Dr K. Farsalinos, Cardiac Consultant, states “Nicotine does not cause Heart Disease or Cancer”.
Dr Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, states “The risks are negligible and compared to smoking, there is no contest”. He also states “E-Cigarettes are probably about as safe as drinking coffee”.
So can we please follow what the UK are doing and promote the effectiveness of vaping and e-cigarettes.