“E-cigarettes 95% less harmful to health than normal cigarettes”


The New Nicotine Alliance Australia (NNA AU) welcomes the publication of “E-cigarettes: an evidence update”, a report commissioned by Public Health England (PHE). We also welcome the extensive guidance and advice it offers on how to broaden safe and responsible access to electronic cigarettes.


Because they are demonised by some in the public health lobby, there is confusion and fear in the public mind about the relative safety of these products. The reality is that, on e-cigarettes, the Australian public health lobby is way out of step with public health experts in the UK and other countries.

This evidence-based study, principally authored by Professor Ann McNeil (Kings College, London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University, London) counters misinformation on the harm-reducing value of e-cigarettes stirred up by those with a blindly prohibitionist agenda. This, along with Australia’s current prohibition of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, and the knee-jerk opposition to e-cigarettes from public health advocates and policy-makers, deters most smokers from switching to “vaping” (using vapour-based e-cigarette products).

The report concludes e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. It highlights an increasingly large number of people incorrectly believe e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking, and almost half the UK population doesn’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful. It also finds no reliable evidence, so far, that e-cigarettes are a route to smoking in children or non-smokers.

Ballarat GP Dr Attila Danko, President of the New Nicotine Alliance Australia and a vaper himself, says: “This compelling report confirms the weight of reliable scientific evidence that e-cigarettes save lives. Its message is clear: e-cigarettes help people stop tobacco smoking, and Australian smokers should legally have that option.”

World-renowned harm reduction expert, Professor Gerry Stimson, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance UK and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London, commented on the report: “Public Health England is taking the global lead in seeing the value of e-cigarettes to reducing the toll from smoking”.

“It’s time for an end to scaremongering and for Public Health leaders in the UK and globally to support this consumer-led solution to a pressing public health issue,” Professor Stimson also said.

Based on the findings of the review, PHE has issued wide-ranging advice including that:

  • E-cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit smoking and carry a fraction of the risk of combustible tobacco cigarettes; and
  • E-cigarettes offer a wide reach, low cost intervention to reduce smoking in deprived groups and those with mental health problems.
  • Stop Smoking Services should engage actively with smokers who want to quit by using e-cigarettes and for health and social care providers to provide accurate information on the relative risks of smoking and vaping.

“The same principles should be applied in Australia”, Dr Danko said.

Please contact Dr Attila Danko on Ph. 0428 412 353 or Donna Darvill on 0437 686 594 for comment or interview, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.