The United Kingdom government’s friendly stance towards vaping is helping more than half of adult smokers in the country quit, the highest number recorded since 1974.
Data recently released by Great Britain’s Office of National Statistics reveals electronic cigarettes are getting smokers to ditch the deadly habit at a historic pace and local governments are increasingly warming up to the practice. Roughly 56 percent of all adult smokers in the U.K. made the decision to quit in 2015, the largest number reported since 1974, and health officials give a lot of the credit to vaping.
Online vaping retailer Vapourlites recently looked at e-cigarette policies in the U.K. at a more local level, finding which cities are the most friendly to vaping and give residents the most access to the devices. They counted the number of vape shops within a two mile radius of the city and found Edinburgh is the friendliest towards e-cigarettes, with London and Birmingham close behind.
The investigation revealed most cities in the U.K. offer access to e-cigarettes, and representatives for Vapourlites credit the country’s vaping friendly policies for the massive drop in traditional smoking.
“There’s no question that the e-cigarette industry is forging its place within the British market,” Charles Bloom, director of Vapourlites, said in a statement. “The example set by London, Birmingham and Edinburgh proves there is an audience for electronic alternatives – particularly regarding those struggling with addiction. Each vaping outlet will offer consumers a way to cope and make a positive change and hopefully, over time many more cities across the UK will follow suit.”
The U.K. actually promotes the sale of e-cigarettes as a health-conscious alternative to smoking, in stark contrast to U.S. policy. A study from Public Health England in 2016 found nearly all of the 2.6 million e-cigarette users in the U.K. are former or current smokers, and roughly 50 percent are actively using the devices to quit. A separate study from the the Royal College of Physicians agreed vaping is healthier than smoking.
Public health officials in the U.S. focused on harm reduction argue policymakers could learn a lot from the British approach to tobacco addiction.
“In the U.K. they’ve looked at all the science that exists and say vapor products are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes, and argue for that reason our government needs to be promoting them, not restricting them,” Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “That mindset, which is based upon science, is held across the board in England.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Dec. 8 condemning vaping as an unhealthy practice and warned vaping poses a significant risk to the youth. Localities across the U.S. are implementing regulations treating vaping the same way as traditional cigarettes, with some measures slapping the industry with taxes as high as 40 percent.
“Here in the U.S. we have a scientific community, or at least government agencies, that have pretended as if they don’t have enough information yet, despite one of the most esteemed medical bodies in the world, the Royal College of Physicians, coming to the conclusion they did,” Abboud told TheDCNF. “Those two things cannot be true.”
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