The Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group report on electronic cigarettes, entitled Nicotine without smoke – tobacco harm reduction, with respect to the United Kingdom experience, was published today and is free to download from the RCP website.
This is the latest in a long line of reports by the RCP on tobacco and nicotine addiction which started with the 1962 report on Smoking and Health, which preceded the first US Surgeon General’s report, and was the first report to set out a comprehensive list of tobacco control measures to tackle the epidemic. It is a substantial report, of nearly 200 pages, and there is also a commissioned article in the BMJ published simultaneously which summarises the report.
The key messages in the report are that:
· Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death, disability, and health inequalities in the UK
· The hazard to health arising from long term use of e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco
· Experience in the UK suggests that e-cigarettes are more popular with smokers than other non-tobacco nicotine products and are being used almost entirely by smokers who want to cut down or quit smoking
· E-cigarettes represent an important means to reduce the harm to individuals and society from tobacco use
· E-cigarettes should continue to be supported by government and promoted as a tobacco harm reduction strategy
Set out below is the list of contents.
Nicotine without smoke – tobacco harm reduction
2 Smoking in Britain
3 Effectiveness of current and future tobacco control policy
4 Nicotine pharmacology and pathophysiology
5 Non-tobacco nicotine products
6 Quitting smoking
7 Trends in use of non-tobacco nicotine in Britain
8 Harm reduction and population health
9 E-cigarettes, harm reduction and the tobacco industry
10 Regulating nicotine products in the UK
11 Harm reduction and e-cigarettes: an international perspective
12 Ethics and conclusions