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Key messages and recommendations - October 2023

What is vaping?

Vaping products are the most popular stop smoking aid in England and offer people who smoke an effective smokefree nicotine alternative. They are a battery-powered device that simulate the sensation of smoking and can give the nicotine to which people are addicted, without the high levels of harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Although addictive, nicotine is relatively harmless on its own: it is not a carcinogen and does not cause cancer.

Stop smoking device being held in hand Young male using a stop-smoking aid

How vaping can help

Alongside behavioural support and licensed stop smoking aids, we believe that vaping products have a significant role to play in reducing the harm from tobacco, supporting people who smoke to quit and thus improving public health.

6 in 10 people

using vaping products alongside behavioural support will quit successfully

We take this position for two key reasons:

  1. Because evidence shows that vaping products are far less harmful than smoking. 
  2. Because they are the most popular stop smoking aid in England and there is strong evidence showing they are highly effective in supporting people who smoke to quit.

“Vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking”.

Nicotine Vaping in England: 2022 | Evidence Update: 2022

Why stop smoking?

There is no safe level of smoking. The best thing someone can do for their health is to stop smoking completely and for good. It is never too late to stop - quitting at any age can lengthen and improve quality of life, even for those with a smoking-related illness.


Tobacco causes 15% of all cancers


new cases of cancer per year in Yorkshire are caused by tobacco smoking

Tobacco smoke is known to contain 70 chemicals which cause cancer and Yorkshire has the third highest percentage of adults who smoke in England. Reducing rates of smoking, to prevent future cancers, is an important factor in helping people in Yorkshire to live long and healthy lives free of cancer.

The most recent Cochrane Living Systematic Review concluded that there is high‑certainty evidence that nicotine containing vaping products increase quit rates compared to NRT”.

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2022;2023

Risks around vaping

Although vaping products are significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, they are not risk-free.

People who do not smoke, or who are not at risk of relapsing to smoking, should not vape.

A significant rise in young people vaping is of concern and requires action. Vaping products should not be seen as accessible lifestyle
products, but as stop smoking aids.

Our recommendations

We have a number of recommendations to help people who smoke access this vital stop smoking tool, whilst also decreasing the appeal for young people.

  1. Local stop smoking services to receive more funding.
  2. A public health campaign to dispel myths around vaping and provide a reliable source of information.
  3. Introduce measures to reduce the accessibility of vaping products to young people, including restricting the sale of vaping products to behind the counter locations and introducing a ‘Challenge 25’ approach for all tobacco and vaping products.
  4. Introduce measures to reduce the appeal of vaping products to young people, including marketing within social media platforms and in sport sponsorship, and introducing significant restrictions on youth-targeted branding and packaging.
  5. Investigate removing current restrictions in place by the MHRA and ASA, and review introducing a mandatory statement on vaping products indicating they are intended as a tool to stop smoking.

Our vaping position statement

Yorkshire Cancer Research exists so that more people in Yorkshire live longer healthier lives, free of cancer. Our aim is for more people in Yorkshire to survive cancer each year.

For more information, contact

Read position statement