CBS Local — An annual campaign that encourages people to quit smoking in England has endorsed an unlikely ally in their cause: e-cigarettes.
The “Stoptober” campaign will reportedly promote using the controversial devices in their television ads this October. The surprising alliance comes after 53 percent of people trying to quit reportedly switched to vaping to help them give up smoking in 2016.
The campaign is being run by Public Health England (PHE). “The evidence is clear — vaping is much less harmful than smoking, a fraction of the risk,” according to PHE’s Professor John Newton. Stoptober’s acceptance of e-cigarettes has drawn criticism as other groups, like the World Health Organization, maintain that vaping is unhealthy.
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England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) still hasn’t added e-cigarettes to their list of methods to help people quit, but admitted smokers should be told that switching has helped some people kick the habit.
“We recognize that e-cigarettes are being used by people to help them quit,” confessed Professor Gina Radford. “Therefore, engage people in a discussion about how they are using them, encourage them to be using them only as part of a quit attempt,” the government medical officer added.
A spokesman from the United Kingdom Vaping Industry Association also celebrated Stoptober’s decision. “It feels that at last the tide is beginning to turn; the UK is leading the way on vaping as an effective tool to reduce and stop smoking related disease.”