Dr Derek Yach, a former member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Tobacco Control group has written a column for the Spectator saying he disagrees with the WHO’s stance on e-cigarettes, claiming that “their intransigence threatens more profound progress”.
Dr Yach has used the example of ‘Snus’, a tobacco product popular in Sweden that has never really spread to the UK. Snus is smokeless but still gives the user a dose of much-craved nicotine, and as a result, the number of tobacco-smokers has decreased massively in Sweden. Yach believes that this contributes to “Swedish men having the lowest death rate in the European Union.” Tobacco replacements, which are often safer than traditional smoking products, because they contain no carbon monoxide, tar or tobacco, help reduce the numbers of people relying on cigarettes, convincing Yach to come out in disagreement with WHO, who don’t endorse electronic cigarettes or vaping.
The Royal College of Physicians have also released a statement, saying that “switching completely from tobacco to e-cigarettes achieves much the same in health terms as does quitting smoking and all nicotine use completely” and, crucially, “risks associated with passive exposure to e-cigarette vapour are far less than…exposure to tobacco smoke.”
Smoking tobacco is a deadly habit, and many nicotine-replacement treatments and products have the authorisation and support of various health authorities as a method of quitting tobacco and substituting nicotine.
Hopefully, with more support from health professionals and organisations, e-cigarettes and vaping will be endorsed further, and people will have plenty of information about tobacco replacement and their options.