Barnet Council has thrown its weight behind the latest declarations made by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the London Tobacco Alliance.
These organisations are leading the charge against vaping misinformation and advocating for responsible media reporting while promoting clinically verified and precise data on the subject.
Dr Tamara Djuretic, Joint Director of Public Health and Prevention, Barnet Council and The Royal Free London Group, and Cllr Alison Moore, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board at Barnet Council, say:
“We support the use of nicotine vapes that meet UK regulatory standards as an aid for adults to stop smoking.
“For a smoker, smoking tobacco is clinically proven to be far more harmful than switching to vaping. The inaccurate reporting about adult vaping in the media is a cause for concern as it is likely turning smokers away from an aid to quitting that works, and so will substantially improve their health outcomes in the long term.
“We recognise that vaping is not risk-free, so if you don’t smoke already, we urge you not to vape.
“The promotion of e-cigarettes to children is a serious issue that needs stricter regulation, to reduce their affordability, appeal and accessibility to children and young people. But, we must at the same time ensure adult smokers are not discouraged from using vaping to help them quit smoking.”
Vaping is considered a less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco, which is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, claiming nearly 75,000 lives annually in England alone and exacerbating health inequalities and poverty.
Passive smoking also poses risks to mothers and babies, leading to outcomes such as miscarriage and sudden infant death syndrome. However, despite vaping being one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking, in 2023, over a quarter of adult smokers have not tried it due to negative media portrayal.
It’s important to note that vaping is not a gateway to smoking, as e-cigarette use has increased while smoking rates among children have declined.
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Chris Whitty, emphasises that for smokers, vaping is a safer option, but non-smokers should avoid it.