ISLAMABAD (Agencies): The Royal College of Physicians has underscored the role of E-cigarettes in mitigating the harm caused by tobacco and has called for stricter regulations to safeguard non-smokers, particularly the youth.

According to a report from the UK Royal College of Physicians, E-cigarettes are instrumental in combating the adverse effects of tobacco use. However, measures should be implemented to reduce their appeal, accessibility, and affordability to non-smokers, especially young people, while also addressing environmental issues.

The report primarily investigates the function of e-cigarettes in averting deaths, disabilities, and inequalities linked to tobacco use. Titled “E-cigarettes and harm reduction: An evidence review,” the report explores how e-cigarettes can aid more individuals in their attempts to quit smoking while discouraging young people and non-smokers from starting to use e-cigarettes. It advocates for the promotion of e-cigarettes as an effective tool to assist smokers in quitting tobacco.

Comprehensive reviews of the role of e-cigarettes have been regularly commissioned in the UK by Public Health England (PHE) and later by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID). The report scrutinizes trends in tobacco and vaping use, the efficacy of e-cigarettes in treating tobacco addiction, the health effects of vaping in smokers, vapers, and non-users, the influence of the tobacco industry on the increasing use of e-cigarettes, and the ethical issues posed by e-cigarettes.

The report notes a significant variation in international approaches to e-cigarettes. It adds that current evidence suggests that nicotine itself poses little health risk, although acute exposure at typical levels from consumer nicotine products can lead to addiction, short-term cognitive enhancement, increased heart rate, and systolic blood pressure. However, it will take decades to accurately measure any effects of long-term non-tobacco nicotine use.

The report maintains that e-cigarettes may be beneficial in both quitting smoking and reducing harm in smokers with mental illness, including those who are not motivated to quit and have previously failed to do so.

The report advocates for the regulation of vaping to protect young people and non-smokers from vaping. It proposes increasing the prices of vaping by introducing an excise tax and minimum unit pricing, banning multi-buy purchases, but ensuring they remain a cheaper option for adults using them to quit smoking.

The report also calls for limiting ‘point of sale’ in-store promotional materials and product visibility, restricting promotion on social media, and ensuring that Trading Standards services have sufficient resources to effectively enforce e-cigarette sales legislation and reduce underage sales.

The Royal College of Physicians wants vaping products to be less appealing to young people by introducing standardized packaging and flavor descriptors.

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