BAT publishes new review of vaping products and their potential health effects

Clinical Trials & Research

To mark World Vape Day, BAT has today published a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence for vaping products (e-cigarettes), their potential health effects and their role in Tobacco Harm Reduction.

This review shows that, over the past decade, the number of people who incorrectly believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes has risen in the UK, Europe, and the U.S. This is despite several scientific reviews , , published in the same period showing that vaping products manufactured in accordance with quality standards present less risk to health than cigarettes.

According to population modeling studies cited in the review, a significant reduction in premature deaths could be achieved if current smokers switched exclusively to vaping rather than continuing to smoke. These modeling studies use population data and simulations to project the health-related outcomes associated with the long-term risks of smoking versus vapour use over time.

This paper is a comprehensive summary of more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers and other evidence published by an estimated 50 institutions over the past decade.”

Dr David O’Reilly, Director of Scientific Research, Research and Development-British American Tobacco

“The scientific evidence is clear – but consumer misperceptions remain. In England and the United States, only one in three adults is aware that there is scientific evidence available, including from leading public health authorities, that supports the conclusion that vaping is less harmful than smoking.

“The reality is that many leading public health authorities have reported that vaping is less harmful than smoking, and that this harm reduction potential can be maximised if those smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke switch exclusively to using vapour products.

“We hope this paper will be used as a resource by public health authorities, and support adult smokers seeking to understand the breadth of scientific evidence that exists to inform their choices.”

“Reducing the health impact of our business is at the heart of our purpose – to create A Better Tomorrow by offering the widest range of reduced-risk alternatives to cigarettes,” David O’Reilly continued. “This is why we aim to have 50 million consumers of our New Category products, which include our vapour product range, Vuse, by 2030.”

This review highlights that vaping products can effectively compete with combustible cigarettes by providing nicotine and the sensorial enjoyment sought by smokers. Therefore, access to high-quality, extensively tested and well-regulated vapour products is crucial. However, vaping will only be considered a compelling alternative to smoking if public health institutions unambiguously and accurately inform smokers that switching completely to vaping can reduce their health risks.

The paper also reviews current vapour product regulations, and notes that these regulations largely relate only to labelling, ingredients and taxation – but not manufacturing standards. This has resulted in highly variable product quality standards globally.

The review stresses the need for consistent product manufacturing regulations and the universal adoption of robust product stewardship standards by manufacturers with the aim of increasing public confidence in vaping.

Journal reference:

Camacho, O. M., et al. (2021) Evidence From the Scientific Assessment of Electronic Cigarettes and Their Role in Tobacco Harm Reduction. Contributions to Tobacco & Nicotine Research. doi.org/10.2478/cttr-2021-0007.

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