Key stakeholders in tobacco and health in Scotland have agreed for the first time that using e-cigarettes is definitely less harmful than smoking tobacco. Based on the current evidence, the consensus is also clear that using e-cigarettes while still smoking (dual use) does not provide health benefits. NHS Health Scotland led the consensus with over 20 partners in the NHS, Scottish Government, third sector and academia. Its aim is to clarify any confusion around the harms and benefits of using e-cigarettes.
Recent research has shown an emerging perception among the general public that e-cigarettes are just as harmful to health as tobacco is. This is a not the case – we know from current evidence that vaping carries less risk than smoking tobacco. So it would be a good thing if smokers used e-cigarettes instead of smoking tobacco. To be absolutely clear, e-cigarettes are useful for public health and health service purposes only as a potential route towards stopping smoking completely. Access to e-cigarettes needs to be controlled carefully; they are not products for children or non-smokers.
Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science at NHS Health Scotland.