Blackpool health chief's warning over vaping

Dr Arif Rajpura
Dr Arif Rajpura
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One of Blackpool's top doctors has aired his concerns over the safety of vaping and fears products are being aimed at young people who have never previously smoked.

Blackpool Council's director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura says not enough is yet known about the long term affects of using e-cigarettes, although Public Health England has said vaping is "far less harmful than smoking tobacco."

Could vaping introduce some people to smoking tobacco?

Could vaping introduce some people to smoking tobacco?

Dr Rajpura told a meeting of Blackpool Council's adult social care and health scrutiny committee: "I can to a degree accept vaping is likely to be safer than smoking but we don't know what the long term impact is.

"We haven't got the figures. I don't think we have enough information to show that vaping is safe.

"Public Health England feels vaping helps people come off smoking and onto a journey of being nicotine free."

He said he was also concerned about more young people using e-cigarettes.

He added: "We have a lot more young people vaping than other parts of the country.

"A lot of these vaping products are targetted at young people and my concern is young people get into vaping who have never smoked.

"Is it a gateway to smoking? That's a concern raised in America. I have challenged Public Health England on their stance on this."

The latest statistics on smoking in adolescence from 2014/2015 indicate nearly 34 per cent of Blackpool respondents had tried e-cigarettes or vaping compared to 18.4 per cent in England.

In America the US Centers for Disease Control is investigating a number of lung injuries linked to vaping, in which eight people have died and more than 500 have become ill.

In September Public Health England tweeted its "advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged - vaping isn’t completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco.

"There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping."

A government blog said its " latest report found no evidence so far to support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people. "