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expert reaction to Public Health England’s latest e-cigarette report

Public Health England (PHE) have published a report into smokers use of e-cigarettes to quit smoking.


Prof Jamie Brown, Professor of Behavioural Science & Health at University College London, said:

“E-cigarettes have helped many thousands of smokers to quit in the UK and have an important role to play in reducing the enormous burden of smoking. This report should reassure smokers whose views on the relative harm of e-cigarettes have clearly deteriorated over the last year.

“The proportion of smokers who do not currently use e-cigarettes and believe use is less harmful than smoking has fallen to less than a third, while more than half believe e-cigarettes to be equally or more harmful than smoking. One source for these figures is the Cancer Research UK funded Smoking Toolkit Study, which is a nationally representative survey of the population in England that has been recruiting a new sample of approximately 1,700 adults each month since 2006.”


Prof John Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, said:

“Smoking remains the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability in the UK, and using electronic cigarettes is an effective means of quitting smoking. So these new figures from PHE are disturbing, and highlight the urgent need for media campaigns to make sure that all smokers understand that switching to e-cigarettes is one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking and protecting their health.”


Declared interests

Prof Britton: none to declare

Prof Brown is a co-PI on the CRUK programme grant that supports the Smoking Toolkit Study in England and has received unrestricted research funding from Pfizer to study smoking cessation.

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