The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) could save over GBP500 million ($636.9 million) annually if half of England’s adult smokers switch to vaping, according to a Brunel University London report.
“If smokers transitioned to RRPs [reduced-risk products], it would significantly reduce the pressure on the NHS and free up much-needed hospital resources for other treatments,” said Francesco Moscone, professor and business economics expert at Brunel University London and study author. “Under a 50 percent conversion scenario, with half of smokers turning to RRPs, the NHS would save an estimated [GBP]518 million in an average year. If the conversion rate was just 10 percent, the NHS would save [GBP]103 million.”
“We are delighted that this new research from Brunel University London reinforces the findings of our own economic impact report,” said John Dunne, director general of the U.K. Vaping Industry Association, in a statement. “The potential savings to the NHS from smokers switching to vaping are enormous, and at a time when the NHS is desperately crying out for more funding and government budgets are squeezed so tightly, this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
“I sincerely hope that these two reports will give the government more impetus to really push the positive impacts that vaping has for the health of our nation and the finances of our country.
“Only last week, ASH [Action on Smoking and Health] revealed shocking data, which showed that four in 10 smokers wrongly believe vaping is as or more harmful than smoking—up from one in five in 2019.
“Misinformation in the mainstream media about the relative health risks of smoking and vaping was one of the reasons given for this increasing lack of knowledge, and unless the government acts to educate smokers about the real risks, then lives will continue to be needlessly lost.”
“Cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the five main disease categories caused by smoking cigarettes. Such illnesses put significant burdens on the NHS, which we know is already under increasing pressure,” said Moscone. “Although the long-term effects of RRPs are still unknown, we know from previous research that alternatives to traditional cigarettes result in a 90 percent reduction in the exposure to chemicals that are major contributors to health risks.”
The study was published in the British Journal of Healthcare Management.