RCP calls for protecting non-smokers, youth from e-cigarettes

04:00 PM, 23 Apr, 2024
RCP calls for protecting non-smokers, youth from e-cigarettes

Acknowledging the potential of e-cigarettes in reducing tobacco-related harm, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has stressed the need for stricter regulations to protect non-smokers, particularly youths.

A report released by the RCP, UK, underscores the role of e-cigarettes in combating the detrimental effects of tobacco use. However, it calls for measures to mitigate their promotion, accessibility, and affordability to non-smokers, especially young individuals, while addressing environmental concerns.

The primary focus of the report, titled "E-cigarettes and harm reduction: An evidence review," is on the role of e-cigarettes in preventing fatalities, disabilities, and disparities linked to tobacco consumption. It emphasizes the promotion of e-cigarettes as an effective tool for aiding smokers in their cessation efforts while discouraging its use among young people and non-smokers.

The report highlights the need for comprehensive evidence reviews on e-cigarettes, a practice routinely undertaken in the UK by entities such as Public Health England (PHE) and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

Examining various facets of e-cigarette usage, including trends, effectiveness in treating tobacco addiction, health effects, and ethical considerations, the report underscores the need for tailored regulatory measures.

Internationally, approaches to e-cigarette regulation vary significantly. While the report acknowledges minimal health risks associated with nicotine, it stresses the importance of regulating vaping to protect non-smokers. This includes measures such as excise taxes, minimum unit pricing, and restrictions on promotional activities both in-store and on social media.

Moreover, the RCP advocates for standardized packaging and flavor descriptors to make vaping products less enticing to young people. It calls for strict enforcement of regulations by trading standards services to curb underage sales.

While recognizing the potential benefits of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation and harm reduction, the RCP underscores the urgent need for stringent regulations to safeguard public health, particularly among vulnerable populations.