According to the Evening Standard report on August 8, a study by Brunel University London showed that if half of the adult smokers in the UK switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, the National Health Service (NHS) would save more than 500 million pounds a year.
Switching to e-cigarettes is equivalent to saving £518 million
Researchers at Brunel University London calculated that 13.6% of the population aged 18 and over in England smoked between 2019 and 2021.
The lowest proportion of smokers was found in the South East (12.2%), compared with 14.6% in the North West and 15% in the North East and Yorkshire.
Research shows that if 50% of all smokers switched to e-cigarettes, hospital admissions would be reduced by 13%, equivalent to a savings of £518 million. In London, about £53 million will be saved.
The researchers analyzed data related to smoking as a cause of death and the risk of five diseases due to the habit, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
The total health expenditure was then calculated by multiplying the average hospital room cost for a particular disease by the average length of hospital stay for that disease.
In England, smoking causes about 74,600 deaths a year and an estimated 506,100 smoking-related hospitalizations between 2019 and 2020.
Professor Francesco Moscone, an expert in business economics from Brunel University London, said:
“These diseases place a significant burden on the NHS, which we know is already under increasing pressure.”
Opponents argue that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as cigarettes
E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, but there are still health risks.
The government has pledged to make England “smoke-free” by 2030 to reduce pressure on the future of the NHS.
Professor Moskone said that while the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are unknown, previous studies have shown that they “reduce exposure to chemicals that are a major contributor to health risks by 90 percent.”
Anti-smoking activists and respiratory doctors say more needs to be done to help the public understand that e-cigarettes are less risky than cigarettes. A poll has found that more than a quarter of smokers believe e-cigarettes are as dangerous as cigarettes.
A YouGov survey of 12,271 adults, commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) in the UK, found that 43 per cent believe vaping is as dangerous or more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
Health experts have sounded the alarm over a rise in vaping among teenagers, with new figures showing that more than 100,000 London children used e-cigarettes in 2021.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18, but the government has warned that e-cigarette companies are targeting children by using colorful packaging and fruity flavours.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said the “false perception” about the dangers of e-cigarettes was a “barrier for smokers” and must be “tackled quickly”.
“However, while smoking costs the NHS more than £2bn a year, the greatest benefit to the public purse from reducing smoking will not be the benefit to the NHS, but the reduction in spending on social care and social care, which together cost more than twice as much as smoking costs the NHS.”
Steve Brine, chairman of the Health and Social care Committee, said last month that the government could continue to communicate to the public the potential value of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool, while using a regulatory approach to prevent children from accessing e-cigarettes.
【1】Half of UK smokers switching to vapes ‘could save NHS more than half a billion a year’