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Doctors At War Over Banning Vaping In Public

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Doctors are warning banning vaping in public places could damage public health and discourage smokers using e-cigarettes.

Public Health England (PHE), which concluded in 2015 that e-cigs are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes, made the comments after the British Medical Association (BMA) voted to ban vaping in shops, restaurants and places where children might view it as “cool.”

The vote has no meaning in terms of British law but signals what it believes government policy should be regarding the use of e-cigarettes. PHE and BMA are taking radically different positions on vaping.

“Vaping is not the same as smoking, second-hand smoke is harmful to health but there is no evidence that e-cigarette vapour carries the same harms,” said Rosanna O’Connor, director of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco at PHE.

“In fact a ban on using e-cigarettes in public places could be damaging as it may put off smokers from using e-cigarettes to help them quit.”

Dr. Iain Kennedy, a consultant in public health, from Glasgow, told the Press Association that bans on vaping in public spaces are necessary because of passive vaping. (RELATED: E-Cigarette Study: Vaping Indoors ‘Unlikely’ To Pose Any Risk To Non-Vapers)

“There is growing evidence that passive vaping happens, particularly based around testing nicotine levels in households,” he said.

“What we don’t know yet is what the precise mechanisms of that are, what long-term harm there is. This is cutting edge research, with findings being published at the moment.”

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the most respected medical institution in the United Kingdom, released a report April agreeing with PHE that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes and are likely to be hugely beneficial to public health. (RELATED: Game Changer: World Leading Medical Group Backs E-Cigarettes)

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