ASH stands for Action on Smoking and Health. It is a public health charity group that was founded in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians. Funded by the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, ASH has two main aims. The first is to develop awareness of the “tobacco epidemic” through information and networking.
The second is to campaign for policy measures that will target and reduce the addictions, diseases and premature deaths that can be attributed to tobacco. They support policies that are evidence based and have influenced the majority of tobacco control legislation made by the UK Government over the past two decades, including the 2007 indoor smoking ban and 2020 ‘menthol ban’.
ASH does not believe in attacking or condemning smokers and, alongside their campaigns for tighter regulation of the tobacco industry, they fight against health inequality and for greater support for smokers wanting to quit.
In a 2018 briefing which examines the benefits, risks and use of Electronic Cigarettes in the UK, ASH states that ‘using e-cigarettes is considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes.’
They attribute this to the delivery of nicotine in vapour rather than smoke, which removes the harm caused by burning tobacco. ASH does acknowledge that there are some risks associated with e-cigarette usage, but claim they are low when compared to the risks of tobacco cigarettes.
Alongside the health effects, the briefing also includes evidence that the fire risk from e-cigarettes is much lower than from traditional smoking materials and that the risk of harm to health from ‘second hand vaping’ is very low.
Most importantly, the briefing includes evidence that e-cigarettes do not lead new users, particularly young people, into smoking, but are instead most often used as an aid to stop smoking, with over half of e-cigarette users in the UK being ex-smokers at the time of the briefing and at present.
ASH recognises that e-cigarettes are not licensed as medicine in the UK, unlike nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, but it supports their use by smokers looking for tools to assist them in quitting.
With over 5 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the industry. His knowledge extends beyond e-liquids and devices, but covers safety and compliance as well as best practice and more to name but a few.