Public Health England (PHE) has today published its sixth independent e-cigarette report
PHE's advice remains that smokers should switch to e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking, but non-smokers should not take up vaping.
Echoing findings in the recent ‘No Smoke Without Fire?' report from the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), PHE goes on to say that evidence suggests e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco but are not completely safe.
The report also warned that UK smokers now wrongly believe nicotine-containing cigarettes are as dangerous as tobacco and this is putting them off switching.
PHE believes a recent spate of deaths in the US related to toxic vaping products has impacted public opinion. "It is concerning to see how much the US lung disease outbreak has affected smokers' views on e-cigarettes here in the UK," said John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE.
"Safety fears may well be deterring many smokers from switching, leaving them on a path to years of ill health and an early death due to their smoking," he said.
In the report, the health body said e-cigarettes "contain significantly less harmful chemicals which cause diseases related to smoking but the long-term impact of using e-cigarettes will remain unknown for some time."
Given the opinion of PHE, Reviti, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) insurer funded by tobacco giant Phillip Morris, said it was disappointed it was only acknowledged as ‘a step in the right direction' by the IFoA in its recent report.
"At Reviti, we have access to scientific data in relation to the IQOS heated tobacco system and have offered a life insurance product to the market, despite a level of intransigence from some in the insurance industry," Dan Pender, Reviti CEO told COVER. "Rather than a ‘step in the right direction', we regard ourselves as having made a significant and important leap in establishing a model that provides people with accessible, affordable protection for themselves and their loved ones."
Reviti smokers that quit tobacco and nicotine for at least 12 months are entitled to a discount of up to 50% on the smoker premium (depending on device).
New customers who use e-cigarettes or vape products, exclusively for at least 12 months will automatically receive a discount of up to 15% on the smoker premium as will those customers who switch to e-cigarettes exclusively and have not smoked cigarettes for 12 months. "We are the only D2C provider to offer e-cigarette users significant discounts on their premiums, we have built our business on rewarding people who make positive lifestyle changes," he said.
Pender pointed out that the recent IFoA report concluded that while there is a lot of occasionally contradictory information about e-cigarettes, the time is right to look more seriously at the data available that would allow the IFoA to establish a better-informed position on e-cigarettes and their impact on the insurance industry.
He concluded: "While the IFoA and the wider industry continues to spend time pondering data (while still profiting from the higher premiums from those who have made a positive lifestyle change), we are actively encouraging people to stop smoking. As a company which launched less than a year ago, we're proud to be taking a leadership position on this important issue where the traditional players are keeping silent."
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