Vaping 95% safer - Misquote

Some of you would have read the title and said WTF.

Here are the guts of it vaping is NOT 95% safer according to the Royal College of Physicians. If you actually read what they said the figure is a whole lot different.

Their words

However, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco .

This is the original report and where the bad maths has crept in 5% of the harm doesn’t mean 95% safer.

Splitting hairs I hear you say well it is a big a hair to split because if you do the maths 5% of the harm means a whopping up to 2000% safer. While 95% safer is a big number when talking about risk reduction up to 2000% safer is far harder to ignore.


Which may mean 4% or 2%. That puts the actual figures at an even more impressive percentage. I am not going to do the math because math makes my head hurt.


So I skimmed through the whole study. The full quote which is from the summary of section 5.5 is:

“Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.” (emphasis mine)

I also found interesting section 4.6 which reinforces my belief that it is added substances to cigarette tobacco that cause most of the addiction aspect of smoking.


That’s the report that Public Health England, currently under huge pressure for their covid-19 response, or lack of, was criticised for, for using as the basis of their E-Cigarette policy.
" The agency was criticised for allegedly using weak evidence in a review of electronic cigarettes to endorse an estimate that e-cigarette use is 95% less hazardous than smoking. Lancet wrote “it is on this extraordinarily flimsy foundation that PHE based the major conclusion and message of its report”. Lancet found this “raises serious questions not only about the conclusions of the PHE report, but also about the quality of the agency’s peer review process.”
Authors of the PHE report subsequently published a document clarifying that their endorsement of the 95% claim did not stand on the single study criticised in the Lancet, but on their broad review of toxicological evidence.
The agency has also been criticised for “serious questions about transparency and conflicts of interest” regarding this review, that PHE’s response “did not even begin to address the various relationships and funding connections” in question, and that this “adds to questions about the credibility of the organisation’s advice”.

Doesn’t instill confidence in a public funded body, with a budget of £4.5 billion, who are, allegedly, leading the way on the UK’s covid-19 response.

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