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Electronic Cigarettes: Death

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will launch an inquiry into deaths relating to vaping.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

There are no current plans to conduct an inquiry. Cases have been reported in the United States of America of acute lung injury suspected to be associated with e-cigarette use or vaping, although Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently recognised that either tetrahydrocannabinol or Vitamin E Acetate as the likely cause of the USA outbreak. Although to date reports in the United Kingdom do not reflect the trends in volume and pattern of the respiratory events seen in the USA, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting surveillance to ensure they can identify potential cases.

UK regulated e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking although not completely risk free. Five fatalities have been reported to the MHRA in the UK that may have been associated with e-cigarette use. Importantly there is no evidence that all the deaths were caused by e-cigarette use. This needs to be put into context of over 3 million e-cigarette users in the UK, and that smoking kills over 78,000 people each year alone in England.

The MHRA continues to assess all reports received in association with nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and take appropriate action to protect public health.

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