I'd like to feed in some observations from my UK/Scotland perspective. In the UK there is no one position but different approaches are being taken in each of the four UK nations. In Scotland we work to an agreed e-cigarette consensus statement from 2017, brokered by the national health agency NHS Health Scotland in the light of available research evidence considered at the time.
Scotland's statement recognises the importance of stopping smoking as the main aim, with expert support and (prescription) medicinal treatments being the strongest recommendation.
NASEM Summary by outcomes https://www.nap.edu/resource/24952/012318ecigaretteConclusionsbyOutcome.pdf
full report: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2018/public-health-consequences-of-e-cigarettes.aspx
The UK has some advantages in terms of regulation (mainly Westminster legislation enacting the European Tobacco Products Directive). We have a limit on nicotine content in e-liquids, a requirement to notify nicotine containing e-liquids to the Westminster Dept of Health, and limits on cross-border advertising. In addition the Scottish Government plans to consult towards the end of this year on further regulations to restrict domestic (Scottish) e-cigs advertising (eg billboards and free samples). Non-nicotine containing e-liquids however currently fall under general consumer (ie food) regulations.
Statement on federal and state collaboration to investigate respiratory illnesses reported after use of e-cigarette products
CDC Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products
Information Update - Health Canada warns of potential risk of pulmonary illness associated with vaping products
I believe there are serious gaps in analysis on the part of some commentators with regards to a) the effects of use of e-cigs at whole-population level and b) how commercial multi-nationals operate to drive and protect their profits. I would add from a Scotland/UK perspective also c) ambient vapour.
Finally, it is perhaps telling that Hon Lik - the inventor of the original e-cigarette in 2002/3, who intended it as a method to quit smoking – went on as the Guardian reported in 2015 to work for a multinational tobacco company and be a dual user of combustible tobacco.
Scotland’s e-cigarette consensus statement states (again on research available at the time) ‘Using e-cigarettes without stopping smoking (dual use) does not provide health benefits.’
Best wishesSheila Duffy
ASH Scotland’s vision is of a healthier Scotland, free from the harm and inequality caused by tobacco. See our 2018-2021 strategy