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E-cigs 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes, UK report says

E-cigs 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes, UK report says
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Electronic cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking, according to a report published on Wednesday by Britain’s Department of Health.

An independent panel of experts, commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), found there is no evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are serving as a gateway to smoking for children or nonsmokers.

The agency said less than 1 percent of adults and young people who had never smoked before are becoming regular e-cigarette users, but the number of people who think e-cigarettes as more harmful than traditional cigarettes has gone up from 8.1 percent in 2013 to 22.1 percent in 2015.

Of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom, PHE said almost all are current or ex-smokers using the vapor device to help them quit smoking or to prevent them from going back to cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm,” PHE’s Director of Health and Wellbeing Kevin Fenton said in a statement. “The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting. Local stop smoking services should look to support e-cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely.”

The study comes a day after The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a conflicting report, which found that students who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to start smoking cigarettes, cigars and hookahs.

The study, which surveyed 14-year-olds in the ninth grade at 10 Los Angeles high schools, found that the kids who smoked e-cigarettes were 22.7 percent more likely to smoke combustible cigarettes the following year.

Health groups used the new data to call on the Food and Drug Administration to finalize its tobacco-deeming regulation and for the first time regulate electronic cigarettes and cigars.