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‘E-cigarettes could cut health inequalities’ says report

February 11, 2020

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A new report has further underlined the success of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device and suggests the technology could be used to cut health inequalities linked to smoking.

The report, published in BMC Public Health, is titled Socioeconomic patterning of vaping by smoking status among UK adults and youth. It brought together data from 35,367 adults and 3,291 10 to 15-year-olds.

It looked at a range of individuals from smokers and ex-smokers to dualists and vapers.

The authors found: “Assuming smoking is more harmful than vaping and that vaping is more harmful than no use of nicotine, the socioeconomic inequalities that we found in vaping among never smoking youth and ex-smoking adults could potentially lead to some future widening of socioeconomic inequalities in health. Conversely, we found weaker inequalities in smoking cessation among smokers who vaped, and this could have an opposing effect leading to narrowing of health inequalities.”

The debate around e-cigarette use still rages in the media but the report adds to a growing consensus among experts which has led to councils and NHS bodies using e-cigarettes to help patients kick the habit:

“There have been reductions in inequalities in successful smoking cessation in recent years, and some have attributed this trend to e-cigarettes. Our findings were somewhat consistent with this notion.”

As with other UK research, the report found little evidence that large numbers of young people are taking up vaping but, where it exists, also found links with inequality:

“Youth vaping was more common among males than females, among older youth, those with single parents, and those whose parents used e-cigarettes, were in disadvantaged occupation categories, or had lower incomes.”