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Dentists: Vaping not a silver bullet, given huge gaps in science

The British Dental Association has welcomed the aspirations set out in the Independent review into smokefree 2030 policies to reduce tobacco use, while stressing government must take a guarded approach to promotion of vaping as an alternative, given current gaps in the science.

Smoking is one the lead drivers for oral cancers, which claim more lives each year than car accidents.

The review, led by Dr Javed Khan OBE, makes four ‘critical recommendations’ including promoting vaping. It stresses “the government must embrace the promotion of vaping as an effective tool to help people to quit smoking tobacco. We know vapes are not a 'silver bullet' nor are they totally risk-free, but the alternative is far worse.”

The BDA accepts the harms from vaping are less than from smoking. However, there have been recent suggestions linking disposable vapes to gum disease, and epidemiological studies highlight concerns over oral dryness, irritation, and gum diseases.

Mick Armstrong, Chair of the British Dental Association’s Health and Science Committee said:

“With oral cancers on the rise, dentists will only welcome aspirations for Britain to go smoke-free.

“This review is right not to view vaping as a silver bullet solution, and Ministers must approach ‘promotion’ carefully, not simply roll out the red carpet.

“The risks of long-term oral and general health problems from e-cigarettes are frankly an unknown. With products that are so new, officials must keep an eye on emerging evidence, particularly given high uptake among young people.”