Public health officials in the United Kingdom are advising smokers to ditch cigarettes for healthier, alternative technologies like vaping.
Members of the Thurrock Council, a borough just outside of London, are embracing the overwhelmingly positive science on electronic cigarettes, saying vaping can help the smoking population improve their health and drastically cut their risk of developing tobacco-related illnesses in the future, reports Your Thurrock.
Councilor James Halden, who serves as Portfolio Holder for Health and Education in Thurrock, says transitioning smokers to vaping can help address the high rates of lung cancer in the borough.
“We are happy to support the correct use of e-cigs as a way to help people quit the habit once and for all,” said Halden, according to Your Thurrock. “Thurrock has a high rate of lung disease, with smoking playing a big factor in this. Why not love your lungs and contact the service to see about support to stop smoking?”
Health officials in the U.K. confirmed the relative safety of vaping over smoking in a recent research review, saying the devices carry, “a fraction of the risk.”
Public Health England published an independent review of existing research on electronic cigarettes Feb.6 from experts in the tobacco field, which shows the devices are improving the quit rate of smokers in the U.K. and accelerating annual declines in the country’s smoking rate.
Researchers estimate that roughly 20,000 smokers are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking each year.
Public Health England hopes to improve public education on the relative risks of e-cigarettes when compared to combustible tobacco. Recent polling shows only two in five people in the U.K. know that e-cigarettes are drastically safer to the user than traditional cigarettes.
Roughly 40 percent of smokers in the U.K. have never tried a vape, data also shows, suggesting these smokers may falsely believe the devices carry the same health harms as smoking.
The U.K. currently has the second lowest smoking rate in all of Europe, and officials stress vaping is a big part of the reason. There are currently roughly three million active vapers in the U.K.
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