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February Roundup

March 1, 2018

We’re kicking off February’s vape news roundup with a warning to motorists that vaping behind the wheel could end in prosecution! But it’s all good news otherwise with Public Health England encouraging the NHS to sell e-cigarettes in hospitals (as well as allowing patients to vape from their hospital beds) and a new Cancer Research study backs up what we all already knew – vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes in the long term.

While it is not illegal to vape and drive, drivers could find themselves with up to nine points on their licence and a fine of £2,500 as a potential punishment if caught vaping behind the wheel. Drivers, take note!

Whether you’re trying to reduce the stress of rush hour or you just enjoy having something to do on those long morning commutes, one thing is certain; there are few things quite as pleasurable as vaping when driving. But the risks, both physical and legal, need to be kept in mind!

With a staggering 3 million vapers currently in the UK, it’s safe to assume that most of them are drivers. Police are now advising the vape community to make sure they’ve got an open window if they’re indulging on the road so as to avoid having their field of vision blocked by vape clouds. While there are currently no laws that prohibit vaping whilst driving specifically, the law does state that a driver cannot be distracted when driving. In addition to impaired vision through excessive vape clouds, there are other potential risks to vaping when driving that drivers must be mindful of to ensure the safety of not only themselves but others on the road.

In health news, Public Health England (PHE) said every smoker struggling to quit (even pregnant women) should be encouraged to take up e-cigarettes. And hospitals were given some “controversial” new health advice in February when they were advised to start selling e-cigarettes on grounds as well as allowing patients and visitors to vape indoors – and even in their hospital beds (if they have single rooms)! Health officials went so far as to suggest hospitals should replace smoking shelters with vaping lounges and we couldn’t agree more.

This advice came just as the PHE published an independent review into the evidence surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping. The report, conducted by King’s College London in collaboration with the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, the University of Stirling and Cancer Research UK, suggests e-cigarettes are helping up to 57,000 smokers a year to quit.

And it restated previous claims that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, while putting the increased cancer risk at less than 0.5 per cent. Officials said smoking kills up to two in three smokers, yet half of smokers wrongly belived e-cigarettes were as dangerous as smoking.

Cancer Research UK also released a new study confirming what many of us already knew to be true – e-cigarettes and undoubtedly safer than smoking! According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, e-cigarettes are far less toxic and safer for regular use than traditional cigarettes.

“This study adds to growing evidence that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco, and suggests the long term effects of these products will be minimal.” said Alison Cox from Cancer Research UK.

The study, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, tested its results by getting people to swap their smoking habits for e-cigarettes. Through analyzing their saliva and urine, after just six months they had all significantly lowered the toxic and cancer-causing substances in their bodies. Those who continued to smoke cigarettes as well as using e-cigarettes did not experience the same reduction in toxic substances so a full switch is needed to reap the benefits of a smoke-free life.

Dr Lion Shahab, a senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health at UCL and the lead author of the study, wants to put to rest some of the recent concerns surrounding e-cigarettee and their health:

“We’ve shown that the levels of toxic chemicals in the body from e-cigarettes are considerably lower than suggested in previous studies using simulated experiments. This means some doubts about the safety of e-cigarettes may be wrong.”

There are currently ten million smokers in the UK and a third of tobacco-related deaths are caused by cancer. But with e-cigarettes now on the market, we can only hope these numbers are significantly reduced within our lifetimes.

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