E-Cigarettes Can Save 54,000 Lives In UK, Say Researchers

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By Smitha Nambiar | September 5, 2014 6:19 PM EST

Electronic (E) cigarettes can save thousands of life if all smokers switch to e-cigarettes instead of normal tobacco cigarettes, say researchers from the University College London (UCL).

Reuters
A shopkeeper reaches for a packet of Marlboro cigarettes in London in this file photo taken November 28, 2013. Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc cut its earnings forecast for 2014 and said it is proving to be a "complex and truly atypical" year for the company.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) anticipate that nearly 6,000 premature deaths could be prevented every year in the UK if one million tobacco smokers switch to electronic cigarettes. If the entire smoking population of nearly 9 million Britons switch to nicotine vapour inhalers or e-cigarettes, then approximately 54,000 lives could be saved, said the team at UCL.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week called for the ban of e-cigarettes in public and work places stating that they could increase the levels of some toxins and nicotine in the air. They further argued that people who smoke e-cigarettes might in the future be led to smoking real tobacco cigarettes.

Providing evidence from the Smoking Toolkit study, a monthly survey of smokers in England, the researchers at UCL said that the numbers of non-smokers using e-cigarettes were less than one per cent in England, according to BBC

Further, dispelling the notion that e-cigarettes could increase toxins and nicotine in the atmosphere, Professor Robert West and Dr Jamie Brown from UCL's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health said that the concentrations were "very low."

"The vapour contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette smoke. In fact, toxin concentrations are almost all well below 1/20th that of cigarette smoke," argued Brown and West in the editorial published in the British Journal of General Practice.

On WHO's claim that people who smoke e-cigarettes are led to smoking real tobacco cigarettes, Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying that the increase in e-cigarette usage goes hand in hand with "an increase in the numbers of smokers quitting and a continued fall in the numbers of people that smoke."

What are e-cigarettes, and how does it work?
An electronic cigarette, also known as e-cigarette, personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), is a battery-powered vaporiser. E-cigarettes give the same 'feel' as tobacco cigarettes by producing an aerosol that looks similar to smoke.
E-liquid is vaporised by a heating element known as an atomiser, and contains a combination of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavorings.

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(Photo: Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett)
A shopkeeper reaches for a packet of Marlboro cigarettes in London in this file photo taken November 28, 2013. Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc cut its earnings forecast for 2014 and said it is proving to be a "complex and truly atypical" year for the company.
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