Wicked Wizard Eliquid E – cigarettes: an evidence update A report commissioned by Public Health England
Public Health England and e cigarettes: confusion or collusion?
O’Dowd’s news on Public Health England’s (PHE) review which claimed “e cigarettes were 95% less harmful than normal cigarettes” and on the wise warning from the Lancet could have been more stimulating.(1,2,3).
Not only is the review not evidence based but it also failed to model. The widespread promotion of e cigarettes may have a wide range of seriously deleterious population-level health effects such as the renormalisation of cigarette smoking, the diversion of current cigarette smokers and healthcare providers from effective evidenced based treatments, the offer of a new gateway to addiction for the youngest.(4) Moreover, PHE confused health information to lay people with marketing slogans.
Could this may be worse than confusion? PHE is a governmental agency and taxes for cigarettes in the UK, 86%, are a major issue for the government. The tobacco industry argues it contributes £12.3bn/y to the exchequer and Imperial is one of the largest tax contributors in the FTSE 100! This does not take into account the cost savings in pension payments due to smokers’ premature death, roughly ten years. Coincidentally, tobacco control seems out of breath: 19 per cent of those aged 16 and over were smokers in 2013, a rate that has remained largely unchanged in recent years.(http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB17526)
PHE began operating on 1 April 2013. After being tackled by Pr McKee (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/08/top-10-causes-death-londo...) it is now tackled by the Lancet. As things come in threes, what’s next?
1 O'Dowd A. Leading journal questions Public Health England's stance on e cigarettes. BMJ 201;351:h4684
2 McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, et al. E cigarettes: an evidence update—a report commissioned by Public Health England. 19 Aug 2015. publications/e cigarettes-an-evidence-update.
3 Lancet. E cigarettes: Public Health England’s evidence based confusion. Lancet 2015:386;829.
4 Kalkhoran S, Glantz SA. Modeling the health effects of expanding e cigarette sales in the United States and United Kingdom: A Monte Carlo analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2015. Online Aug 31. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4209.