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No danger to the public from passive vaping, expert claims
15 October 2019, 09:11
Whether or not to vape in close proximity to others is a "courtesy issue" but there is no evidence it poses health risks to those nearby, an expert claims.
Professor John Britton, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Nottingham has said: "Vaping in an enclosed space... is a courtesy issue. There's no evidence of harm to other people. Most of what comes out in the vapour is water.
But he stressed that vapers should not stand with smokers because it could encourage them to smoke.
"If you send the vapers out to smoke or to vape with the smokers you are putting them directly into contact with the drug they are trying to quit.
"You wouldn't send the methadone user out with the heroin addicts," Professor Britton said.
He was speaking at a Science Media Centre briefing at Imperial College London.
The panel said it was a "no brainer" to switch from smoking to vaping, but that non-smokers should not vape as it is not risk-free.
Professor Britton said: "My position would be that e-cigarettes are not without harm, and long-term use will cause some damage, but the amount of that damage will be minimal relative to smoking."
Public Health England has said that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.
It has come under fire from some academics who say the organisation is wilfully ignoring mounting evidence that vaping is harmful.
The panel also said it would be a "great shame" if people were deterred from vaping by the situation in the US, where regulators are examining cases of vapers with oil-like substances in their lungs.
Several deaths have also been reported while overall, more than 450 cases of a lung disease linked to vaping are being investigated.
Professor Britton and the panel said the issue was specific to the US, with around three quarters of the cases involving cannabis products.