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Vaping Saves Lives – An ITV Tonight correction

Vaping Saves Lives – An ITV Tonight correction

We were very disappointed to watch ITV’s Tonight report on vaping called ‘How safe is your vape?’. Sadly, the documentary chose not to answer that question with balanced information, but instead continued to propagate the many myths around vaping, that have long been busted by evidence-based research. It was even more frustrating, that at no point were reputable industry representatives asked for comment, or given the right of reply. This is despite the Independent British Vape Trade Association specifically reaching out to ITV to request the opportunity to contribute. IBVTA have written a formal response to the documentary that clearly lays out their issues with the content.

‘The scientific and public health community in this country were the first to draw attention to the harms of smoking. That this programme would propagate the smear that our scientific and public health community would now intentionally harm people by promoting that smokers switch to vaping, is shameful.

In the UK, in the region of 4 million people are now ex-smokers that vape, or have given up both smoking and vaping. However, there are still between 6 and 7 million smokers in the UK and smoking results in around 73,000 deaths and 480,000 hospital admissions every year.

There is absolutely no doubt that irresponsible reporting of this nature will result in vapers going back to smoking, and that means this television programme will be the direct cause of unnecessary premature death. Unsurprisingly, the IBVTA believes this to be unacceptable.’

The full statement can be found here:

IBVTA statement on ITV’s Tonight report

It seems more important than ever to turn the tide on misinformation, by supporting customers and businesses with the facts about vaping. That’s why we are supporting the IBVTA campaign #vapingsaveslives and wanted to share the 4 key points in this blog.

Vaping is much, much safer than smoking

Vaping legitimately and responsibly produced nicotine containing products is at very worst 5% as harmful as smoking. It is expected to be found to be very much less harmful than this conservative estimate when long term epidemiological evidence can be evaluated. This view is supported by Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians and a number of reports in the most reputable scientific journals. i, ii, iii

Vaping is the most effective aid to quitting smoking ever known

Smoking is the worlds’ greatest cause of unnecessary death and disease, taking 78,000 lives every year in the UK alone, and is responsible for almost half a million UK hospital admissions in the same period.iv Vaping has been found to help more smokers to quit than any medical intervention, and although the majority of people that have quit using vaping have gone it alone, it is particularly effective when used with behavioural support from trained smoking cessation advisors.v

E-liquid flavours are important to vapers

Contrary to many media and US government reports, vape businesses do not manufacture and market flavoured e-liquids to make vaping more attractive to young people, but to make vaping attractive to adult smokers. The vast majority of smokers that have stopped smoking completely through vaping have done so using flavours other than tobacco, as flavours are an important part of the alternative experience.

Vaping is not a gateway to smoking for young people

Reports of vaping by young people in the USA allude to a youth vaping “epidemic”, but this is now known not to be the case. Some young people experiment with vaping occasionally, but long-term regular use is almost entirely confined to those that had already taken up smoking. If there is a gateway, it is leading young people away from tobacco consumption, rather than towards it. vii Read our blog post about the ASH report on vaping usage among young people in the UK.

For the facts about the cases of lung injury in the US, see our earlier blog ‘Vaping Deaths headlines and the facts’ to find out all you need to know.


i. Vaping in England: an evidence update February 2019 (Public Health England)

ii. Shahab et al. Nicotine, Carcinogen, and Toxin Exposure in Long-Term E-Cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Users: A Cross-sectional Study. Ann Intern Med. 2017; 166(6):390-400.

iii. Polosa et al. Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked. Sci Rep 7. 13825, 2017.


v. Hajek et al. A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine- Replacement Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2019; 380:629-637.

vi. Nicksic et al. Reasons to use e-cigarettes among adults and youth in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. Addict Behav. 2019; 93:93-99.

vii. Jarvis et al. Epidemic of youth nicotine addiction? What does the National Youth Tobacco Survey reveal about high school e-cigarette use in the USA?


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