Expert Insight: the health profession’s view on vaping

What is Vaping? 

Vaping is still a relatively new player in the world of nicotine alternatives so let us lift any cloud of confusion and explain in simple terms what vaping actually is.  Vaping is the use of a battery powered device –  known as an electronic cigarette, e-cigarette or vapouriser – that mimics the action of smoking. The device heats a substance called an e-liquid with its battery and a coil releasing an inhalable flavoured vapour containing nicotine but without the toxic effects of tobacco.  


Why Vape? 

In recent years, there has been an epic explosion in vaping with around 3.6 million adults in the UK alone choosing e-cigarettes in place of conventional cigarettes.  But despite this clear reduction in the popularity of smoking, inhaling traditional tobacco still remains the biggest single cause of preventable death and disease. 

But what are the health experts saying about vaping? The BBC recently reported that UK doctors, public health experts, cancer charities and the government agree that e-cigarettes pose small fraction of the health risks of conventional cigarettes presenting them as a viable, safer nicotine alternative.  Suggested in a Public Health England evidence review to be 95% less harmful to your health, vaping may also help those wanting to quit smoking manage their nicotine cravings rather than relying on willpower alone. Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert in cancer prevention, says the overall evidence points to e-cigarettes actually helping people to give up smoking tobacco. 


According to recent tweets by Public Health England ‘vaping isn’t completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco. There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.’ 

While they are currently unavailable through the NHS, the UK government views e-cigarettes as an important tool to support smokers in their bid to quit and the NHS may even consider prescribing them in the future.