• August 9, 2020

Public vaping ban would be costly in lives, resources

Wales’ proposed ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places could prove to be a costly exercise, according to a report by the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association.

The association is concerned that such a ban would force vapers out into smoking areas. ‘This risks many of Wales’s 33,600 non-smoking vapers falsely believing that the harm from e-cigarettes is the same as tobacco, and bowing to peer pressure to return to cigarettes,’ it said in a press note.

Using government figures, the association has calculated that each vaper who relapsed to smoking as a consequence of the ban would lose an average of between 0.99 and 2.58 Quality Adjusted Life Years. So if 20 percent of vapers relapsed, between 6,586 and 17,338 quality adjusted years of life would be lost. (Quality Adjusted Life Years – QALYs – are years of life, adjusted for quality, such that 10 years of life in perfect health equates to 10 QALYs while the same 10 years of life at 50% quality of life would equate to 5 QALYs.)

The cost to Welsh society as a whole would amount to almost 84,000 years of life and the equivalent of more than £5 billion, the association said.

“The science is clear that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking, so the risks of treating them the same are enormous,” Tom Pruen, chief scientific officer for the association was quoted as saying. “This data from the Welsh government shows that if people are put off e-cigarettes, it will cost lives and damage the Welsh NHS [National Health Service].”

The full report, which also considers the consequences of the ban for Wales’s 514,500 existing smokers who would otherwise is available here.