Highlights from England

Fighting fire

On this page, I set out some of the good things on tobacco harm reduction that have come from England. Updated December 2021.

  1. National government policy statements (England)
  2. Realistic science
  3. Practical professional guidance and public communications
  4. Reasonable public health consensus statements and policy positions
  5. Useful data
  6. Engaged consumers
  7. Groundbreaking conferences
  8. Forthright commentators
  9. Engaged trade associations

Also, see my book chapter (2019) on harm reduction developments in England since 2010. Tobacco harm reduction in England – England’s Tobacco Control Plan 

1. National government policy statements (England)

Pro-harm-reduction national policy statements…

Note: December 2022. A new government tobacco policy is expected in 2022 to set out measures to meet the smoke-free goal to reduce smoking prevalence to less than 5% by 2030.

With support in Parliament

2. Realistic science

Public Health England (and successors)

“Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know”

Public Health England, 2018

Committee on Toxicology
Royal College of Physicians

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“. (Section 5.5 page 87)

Royal College of Physicians, 2016

For a discussion of key quotes from this document, see my submission to the Government of Ireland: Vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Ireland – consultation response in five quotes– February 2017.

Other useful scientific perspectives
  • Dr. Lynne Dawkins, South Bank University – E-cigarettes: an evidence update – all on a guest blog. Myth busting lecture on the science of vaping (slides). November 2018.
Collaborative research approach

3. Practical professional guidance and public communications

On quitting smoking for professionals…
Vaping and pregnancy
Vaping and mental health
Public-facing communications

The national healthcare provider, the National Health Service endorses the use of e-cigarettes to stop smoking. Annial stop smoking campaigns encourge

On smoke-free policy…

These reflect the view that vaping policy should be a matter for the owner or manager of the premises, not subject to a blanket legal ban.

On e-cigarette advertising

These very sensible industry codes govern the advertising that is not banned by the wholly disproportionate EU Tobacco Products DirectiveArticle 20(5) as it applies in the UK.

4. Reasonable public health consensus statements and positions

Cabinet Secretary (Head of UK civil service)

Blog by Sir Jeremy Heywood: How the Nudge unit threw light on lighting up 2015

Consensus statement

2016 statement by Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health, Association of Directors of Public Health, British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Faculty of Public Health, Fresh North East, Healthier Futures, Public Health Action (PHA), Royal College of Physicians, Royal Society for Public Health, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, UK Health Forum

Individual organisations and people

Professor Ann McNeill, the lead author of 2018 Public Health England E-cigarette evidence review, discussing the review:


UK experts talking sense about vaping and harm reduction – on video (Ann McNeill, John Britton, Robert West, Deborah Arnott, Ian Gray) and see many of the same experts on The Switch (2017) below:

Professor Linda Bauld of Cancer Research UK and Dr Richard Roope of Royal College of General Practitioners and CRUK Cancer Clinical Champion, addressing key concerns that GPs have voiced about e-cigarettes.

UK Parliamentary inquiry – December 2017 – December 2018

The House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology inquiry into e-cigarettes took evidence in December 2017. See:

Some highlights from the submitted evidence.

My contribution and a better-formatted version here

5. Useful data

6. Engaged consumers

7. Groundbreaking conferences

8. Forthright commentators

9. Engaged trade associations

Please add suggestions for additions (with links please) in the comments…