There’s been no shortness in a controversy and debate lately over the ill speculated health risks and benefits of smoking e-cigarettes over tobacco products. But in the corner of the more reasoned arguments, the Royal Society for Public Health is encouraging health bosses to promote the use of e-cigarettes and also suggests licensing tobacco sellers.
E-cigarettes better for public health than tobacco
As E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular with the vaping public there has been a somewhat knee jerk negative reaction from various sectors including government, health campaigners and the media. Criticisms of e-cigarettes have ranged from the lofty claims such as “e-cigarettes normalise smoking” to speculative and unproven health concerns. Despite the unwarranted negativity and misinformation surrounding e-cigarettes, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has urged Health chiefs across the UK to adopt a less negative attitude towards the use of e-cigarettes and instead direct their focus towards the far more harmful habit of tobacco smoking. The RSPH has also suggested an educational campaign is required to help people better understand the difference between the addiction to nicotine and the inhaling of harmful chemicals and substances such as tar, arsenic and other cancer causing chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. Such an education would help dispel the myth that nicotine is as bad for you as tobacco and help people better understand that e-cigarettes better for public health.
The RSPH also says new “exclusion zones” should be setup which would ban smoking outside schools, pubs, bars, public squares and parks but e-cigarettes should be exempt from the ban. This comes after Wales recently barred smoking of e-cigarettes in pubs and other enclosed spaces.
The benefits of using of e-cigarettes as a behavioural and nicotine substitute is an attitude which has been embraced and adopted by the North East and in particular, Leicester, where behavioural support is being offered to people who are looking to quit smoking tobacco and use e-cigarettes to help them do so. Although other nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum are offered to people wanting to quit tobacco, e-cigarettes cannot yet be offered by smoking cessation services due to no e-cigarettes yet having a medical license.
The RSPH is also advocating for the licensing of all tobacco retailers. The RSPH would like all local authorities to be able to ban sales of tobacco products by any shop failing to comply with tobacco related legislation such as age restrictions and display restrictions. It would also like to see the compulsory selling of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRTs) such as nicotine gum and patches and to rename e-cigarettes to nicotine sticks or nicotine control products.
With over 6,000 public health professionals who are part of the RSPH charity, if the proposed policies were to become a reality, they would signal one of the largest shifts in the public perception and attitude towards e-cigarettes and nicotine ever seen in the UK.
The policies put forward by RSPH has also been positively received by the Charity Ash and the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association have welcome the differentiation between nicotine and the more harmful chemicals found in tobacco and the proposals to help educate the general public and help clear up the confusion and misinformation which has surrounded the e-cigarette market as it has become increasingly become more drawn into the public eye and political discussions.