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Report Supports Vaping as Smoking Alternative

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A new report published by Belgian’s Superior Health Council supports vaping as a safer alternative to smoking or as a quitting aid that can significantly reduce health risks.

Based on the current state of knowledge, the report concludes that the exclusive use of e-cigarettes by (ex-)smokers—provided that they actually stop smoking—could lead to a significant reduction in health risks

The report also states that vaping is not risk-free and is therefore not recommended for nonsmokers, especially the young. Further long-term safety data are needed.

The council prepares scientific advisory reports to guide Belgian political decisionmakers and health professionals. The report took two years to prepare and was a consensus document prepared by a wide range of experts with different views.

While restrictions on vaping are prudent the report warns that “limiting vaping and other nicotine use does not jeopardize the goal of reducing the prevalence of smoking.”

Advocates of tobacco harm reduction welcomed the report. “Wisely, the guidelines advise risk-proportionate regulation of vaping,” wrote Colin Mendelsohn, a medical professional and founding chairman of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, on his website. “Vaping is much less harmful than smoking and should be regulated much more lightly in line with the lower risk.

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