“95 percent safer” Vapes, 100% directly harmful


While the initial intention behind the “95 percent safer” tagline, aimed at dissuading cigarette addiction among smokers; it has inadvertently led to unforeseen consequences. In the eyes of a respected health expert, Dr. Mike McKean, renowned for his expertise in pediatric lung conditions, the marketing tagline has made vaping appear safer than it actually is, causing many younger people to take up vaping.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr McKean expressed concerns that this messaging has had a direct impact on younger people, making them more prone to take up vaping.

Dr. McKean emphasized that vaping should only be considered as a tool for adults who are already addicted to cigarettes. He stressed that vaping is not intended for children and young people, and while it is not causing widespread illness among youngsters, serious complications are rare.

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He believes that promoting vaping as 95 percent safer was ill-advised and has led to unintended consequences. The “switch to vape” message, he contends, has inadvertently led some children to start using e-cigarettes, potentially becoming addicted to them.

He expressed dismay that the focus on vaping as a smoking cessation tool may have overlooked the well-being of children and young people. Dr. McKean stated, “It feels like we have put all our eggs in one basket and said ‘this is the way to tackle cigarette smoking,’ and I feel we have neglected children and young people, by sort of embracing something almost too much without the real proper thought.”

Prof Ann McNeil, one of the co-authors of the original 2015 report that contributed to the 95 percent safer claim, clarified that the intention was never to convey that vaping is entirely safe. Rather, it aimed to highlight the significant difference in harm compared to smoking. She emphasized that vaping is less risky than smoking but emphasized that it should not be taken up by children.

Despite the ongoing debate, the 95 percent safer figure continues to be used by the vaping industry for promotional purposes. In the UK, doctors, public health experts, cancer charities, and the government concur that, based on current evidence, e-cigarettes carry a significantly lower risk than traditional cigarettes.

However, it is important to note that while e-cigarettes do not contain the same harmful toxins as cigarettes, they do deliver addictive nicotine, which can lead to dependency, especially in young users. Vapes have unsafe levels of metals that could be inhaled into children’s lungs, highlighting the potential risks.

Vaping has been recognized as a valuable tool to help smokers quit traditional cigarettes. However, the long-term effects and risks of vaping, especially in young people, remain subjects of ongoing study and concern.

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