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Medical Group Representing 32,000 Doctors Backs Vaping

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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A leading member of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is urging e-cigarette skeptics to listen to the latest 200-page report vindicating vaping as a tool for tobacco harm reduction.

Titled “Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction,” the RCP report released April 27 was one of the most comprehensive ever published on the subject of e-cigarettes. It’s also a ringing endorsement. (RELATED: Game Changer: World Leading Medical Group Backs E-Cigarettes)

“E-cigarettes can certainly save lives,” Professor John Britton, chair of RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group, told Regulator Watch. Although the proportion of smokers who have switched exclusively to vaping remains relatively low, Britton believes this number could explode.

“As the products improve and with endorsement and support I don’t see why that couldn’t be 50 percent or 70 percent or even more and if that’s the case that these products have the potential to save millions of lives in one country they are potentially huge,” Britton said.

Asked whether the report was a definitive statement on behalf of doctors in the UK, Britton was unequivocal. “It’s a definitive message from the Royal College of Physicians. The Royal College of Physicians has been in existence for 500 years or more and it speaks on behalf of the profession in the UK.”

E-cigarette critics came out of the woodwork April 30 to try and discredit the report’s conclusions. Britton told Reg Watch RCP work should be taken seriously and critics should focus on the science, not the politics of e-cigarettes.

“I don’t think the report should be so easily dismissed. The report’s about the science of electronic cigarettes it’s not about the politics or about who’s right and who’s wrong – it’s about the science. It’s an extensive review of the evidence that’s out there done by people who are experts in the area and signed off by the Royal College of Physicians,” said Britton.

RCP does not conclude e-cigarettes are totally safe but agrees with a 2015 report by Public Health England that the risks of vaping are around 5 percent of those associated with smoking.

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