Nicotine is no more dangerous to health than coffee, but 90 percent of the public still consider it harmful, according to a report from the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health.
The study heaps praise on e-cigarettes with the chief executive of the RSPH, Shirley Cramer commenting “getting people on to nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health.”
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking by heating e-liquids allowing users to inhale nicotine vapor. The RSPH, however, doesn’t disregard all concerns surrounding nicotine addiction. It argues instead that nicotine substitutes like e-cigarettes are far more preferable to regular tobacco.
“Clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking-related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction,” said Cramer.
While the health consequences of long-term e-cigarette use are still unknown, evidence to date suggests there are few if any health consequences. E-cigarettes do not contain many of the chemicals in regular cigarettes associated with lung cancer and emphysema.
A recent study concluded that inhaling vapor from E-cigarettes was as safe as breathing air. The study compared two E-cigarettes with regular cigarettes and air using smoking robot with respiratory tissue.
(RELATED: New Study Claim E-cigarette Vapor No More Dangerous Than Air)
The RSPH wants to see shops that sell regular tobacco compelled to sell e-cigarettes and other nicotine replacement products such patches. In a recommendation more focused on the public relations battle, they added that e-cigarettes should be renamed vaporizers or nicotine sticks to detach any association in the public’s mind between regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Despite the good intentions of the RSPH, not everyone is happy with the recommendations. Simon Clark, director of smokers’ rights group Forest said, “renaming e-cigarettes is a silly idea. It ignores the fact that e-cigs are popular because they mimic the act of smoking.
“The name is part of their appeal. Calling them nicotine sticks or vaporizers suggests a medicinal product and that misses the point,” he added.