Is vaping a comparable substitute for smoking?
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:10
Simon Clark

The Martin McKee story (see earlier post) ran in several newspapers yesterday.

Here are three headlines: Health officials turning a blind eye to teenage vaping, experts claim (Telegraph), Stop ignoring the dangers of e-cigarettes, top scientist tells Public Health England (Sun), and Dangers of ‘vaping are being ignored’ as evidence of harm mounts (Metro).

As I mentioned I was invited to discuss McKee’s comments on LBC. Afterwards a hugely influential global vaping advocate messaged me to say, ‘Heard you on LBC this morning - very good!!’

Despite this and many other media appearances in which I have consistently defended e-cigarettes and opposed vaping bans I am still waiting for an invitation to speak at a single vaping conference.

(Correction: not true. I’ve just remembered that in 2016 I was a panellist at the Next Generation Nicotine Delivery event in London.)

Next month the UKVIA Forum includes a session entitled ‘Is the UK becoming vape unfriendly?’. That would be right up my street (last month for example Forest published a report about vaping policies on NHS hospital sites that was widely reported by the media) but perhaps the fact that I also oppose smoking bans and defend the rights of adults who prefer to smoke disqualifies me from consideration.

Likewise, two and a half years after Forest funded an independent study that led to a peer-reviewed paper that explored the reasons why many committed smokers won’t switch to e-cigarettes, I still haven’t been asked to address the E-Cigarette Summit or the Global Nicotine Forum on the subject.

Perhaps that’s another message vaping advocates don’t want to hear. Fancy that!

On a related issue I was asked by a journalist last week 'whether vaping is a comparable smoking substitute'. The article hasn't been published yet but here's my reply:

"E-cigarettes have helped 1.5 million smokers quit smoking completely and for many of them vaping is a more than adequate substitute for smoking. Some actually prefer vaping to smoking.

"The problem is that for many smokers e-cigarettes may be safer but they are not as pleasurable as traditional cigarettes. That is the challenge the vaping companies have to address and to their credit they are working hard to do so.

"Ultimately it's a question of choice. It's great that less harmful products are available to smokers but if adults make an informed decision to smoke instead of vaping that choice must be respected by government and the vaping industry."

No further comment, m'lud.

Update: Bizarrely, one of the panellists at the UKVIA Forum next month represents a pro-vaping campaign that has been inactive for over a year and gave its last media interview in December 2017.

Go figure.

Article originally appeared on Simon Clark (
See website for complete article licensing information.
Errors occurred while processing template[pageRendered/]:
StringTemplate Error: Can't parse chunk: {settingHomePageKBArticle}" target="_blank">Learn how.</a></li>
<li>If you have already selected a front page, make sure it is enabled. Click on the Cubes icon (top right) and then click the "enable page" button.</li>

: expecting '"', found '<EOF>'
StringTemplate Error: problem parsing template 'pageRendered/noDefaultModule': null
StringTemplate Error: problem parsing template 'pageRendered/noDefaultModule': null