Public Health UK Report 2021: The Harm Reduction Of E-cigarettes Is Beyond Doubt

The official website of the British government published the report titled “E-cigarette Use in the UK: Evidence Update in 2021″. This is an annual update report by the Department of Public Health of the United Kingdom (PHE). The main content is to update the latest data on e-cigarette(heets heat-sticks) use, provide information and insights for policies and regulations. UK is one of the best countries in the world for tobacco control. And it is also the first country that officially supports e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. But in this report, the Department of Public Health of the United Kingdom appears a little anxious because of some set of data.


According to the survey by the Department of Public Health found that British people’s perception of the harm reduction of e-cigarettes (HNB heat-sticks China) is becoming increasingly inconsistent. Only 29% of people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, 38% of people believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful as cigarettes while 18% do not know which is more harmful. And 15% believe that e-cigarettes are more harmful than cigarettes. In other words, 71% of people have confusion about e-cigarettes. For this reason, the Department of Public Health issued an independent report stating that although e-cigarettes are not 100% safe. The content of harmful chemicals is almost negligible and the harm reduction of e-cigarettes is beyond doubt.


In addition to that, UK wants to ensure the smooth progress of the smoke-free goal in 2030. It is planned to phase out combustible cigarettes by 2030 allowing smokers to quit smoking completely or switch to a lower-risk nicotine delivery system, such as e-cigarettes.


Furthermore, UK government’s smoke-free goal is progressing smoothly. Adult smoking rates continue to decline and e-cigarette use rates are steadily increasing. However, in 2020, the use of e-cigarettes in the UK has declined for the first time (see the figure below for details). From 7.1% in 2019 to 6.3% in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 12%.

Another study published by University College London in “BMC Medicine” pointed out that for every 1% reduction in people’s perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, the use rate of e-cigarettes will drop by 0.48%. As well, before the EVALI outbreak, 37% of the respondents believed that e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes. And, after the EVALI outbreak, this proportion was significantly reduced to 30.9%. Correspondingly, those who think e-cigarettes are equally harmful have increased from 39.9% to 43.8%. While e-cigarettes are more harmful than cigarettes increased from 12.7% to 17.2%. The outbreak of EVALI directly led to the deterioration of British smokers’ perception of e-cigarettes.


After several months of investigations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clearly stated on its official page that: “Illegal e-cigarette products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) play a major role in cases.” The culprit is vitamin E acetate in illegal THC products which is not contained in regular nicotine e-cigarettes.


It is also for the above reasons that the Department of Public Health emphasized in the 2021 report that: “It is necessary to focus more on transmitting harm reduction evidence to smokers in a better way, so that they can fully consider various options to help them quit smoking.”


Therefore, the public’s correct understanding of e-cigarettes has become the key to the UK’s 2030 smoke-free goal.