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[Editorial] E-cigarettes: Public Health England’s evidence-based confusion

Last week, Public Health England (PHE) reported what it described as a “landmark review” of evidence about e-cigarettes. The headline in their press release quoted their top-line finding—“E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco”. Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, commented that, “E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm”. Indeed, the 95% figure was widely picked up in news media. The BBC, for example, reported with certainty that “E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco”.

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