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UK health body: Don’t treat vaping like smoking

Because one is better for you than the other.
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bedya via Getty Images

Public Health England has recommended a lighter approach to e-cigarette rules and regulations in order to support vaping as a means of quitting regular cancer sticks. The body has published its new Tobacco Control Plan, which sets out the various ways it will help people kick the habit, with one of the primary goals to reduce the number of adults in England who smoke from 15.5 percent to 12 percent or less by 2022. Data would suggest e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than normal smokes in the long-term, leading Public Health England to recommend we don't create barriers that stop people making the switch.

New regulations related to the sale of vaping products came into force in the UK this May, many of which are good for the consumer. All e-cigarettes and e-liquid refills need to include safety warnings, for example, and be tamperproof. But the laws also take into account the addictive nature of nicotine, and thus impose strict restrictions on the volume of e-liquid refills and maximum nicotine concentration, among other things. Depending on what happens with Brexit, though, one day we might not be beholden to the EU's Tobacco Products Directive. Public Health England believes this hypothetical scenario could present an opportunity to draft rules that acknowledge vaping, to some extent, as a healthier alternative to smoke.

The body also recommends that companies should not "routinely" include e-cigarettes as part of their no smoking policies. In other words, they should decide whether spaces actually need to be vape-free zones as well as smoke-free zones, rather than counting all methods of nicotine delivery as equal. As part of the Tobacco Control Plan, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will also make sure its review process "is fit for purpose" so that more e-cigarettes might be approved and made available through the NHS as smoking cessation aids.

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