Smoking cessation

E-cigarettes: part of the solution or part of the problem?

Marketing e-cigarettes towards children undermines the positive impact they have had on smoking rates in the UK.

Coloured e-cigarette and vaping liquids

Source: Shutterstock.com

They are associated with a rapid drop in smoking rates across the UK and are being lauded by public health experts, and with good reason. E-cigarettes have only 0.5% of the cancer risk of smoking. The comparative risks of cardiovascular disease and lung disease in former smokers are also likely to be substantially reduced. But the jury is still out on whether e-cigarettes are tempting those who have never smoked into a vaping habit.

A , carried out in February 2018, found that “despite some experimentation among never smokers”, e-cigarettes “do not appear” to be undermining the long-term decline in cigarette smoking in the UK among young people.

However, a found that 2.4% of young people aged 11–18 years use e-cigarettes. Another  found that young people who are susceptible to e-cigarette advertising were more likely to try smoking.

The Salvadore also uncovered that e-cigarette refills resembling children’s juice cartons, sweets or biscuits have gone on sale in the UK. One even promises that “you will be like a kid in a sweet shop”.

In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration has cracked down hard on manufacturers and retailers of e-cigarettes marketing to children, but there is no sign yet of such a strong approach in the UK. On the contrary, when presented with evidence of these products, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said it will continue to monitor this area “very closely”. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it was not in its remit as it is a retail issue.

But are these responses enough? E-cigarettes are not harm free. There are measurable side effects and the nicotine in these products can rewire an adolescent’s brain, leading to years of addiction. Surely it is beholden on the authorities to work together to prevent children being exposed to this kind of marketing?

After a rapid increase, the number of e-cigarette users has flatlined recently. Perhaps it makes good business sense to go after the next generation of vapers, but the industry cannot continue to argue for soft-touch regulation if they behave like this.

Representatives of the vaping industry told a recent hearing of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that regulations should be eased to allow them to include statements on the relative health risk of vaping, compared with conventional cigarettes, in vaping advertisements.

It is clear that vaping firms are hoping to be seen as part of the solution, rather than as part of the problem. But dubious practices, such as appearing to target products at young people, must end before these companies undermine all the good e-cigarettes have done to reduce harm.

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204859

Readers' comments (1)

  • I fully endorse the view expressed in this editorial. I also urge community pharmacists to consider developing self-pay schemes to replace abandoned public health schemes. Drive to reduce harm from tobacco must be maintained and community pharmacy must not give up that space. Smoking cessation is one of the most under-valued services when we consider the psychological and physical harm caused by tobacco to human body.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Disease Management

    Disease Management covers the diseases commonly encountered in primary care by system, with common therapeutic issues. Includes case studies and self-assessment sections.

    £54.00
  • Pharmacy and the US Health Care System

    A complete source of current information about the US health care system. Includes concise reports on trends, regulations, policy and finances.

    £49.00
  • BNF for Children (BNFC) 2018-2019

    The BNFC contains essential practical information for all healthcare professionals involved in prescribing, dispensing, monitoring and administration of medicines to children.

    £57.50
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 2 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £252.00
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 1 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £133.00
  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete

Supplementary images

  • Coloured e-cigarette and vaping liquids

Jobs you might like

  • Office based in Beckenham

  • London (Greater)

  • London (Central), London (Greater)

  • London (Greater)

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.

www.pharmacy24.com.ua

https://eurobud.com.ua

левитра таблетки 20 мг