The British Medical Association (BMA) is a professional body in the UK that represents doctors. Although its a trade union rather than the usual research or policy group it does have a lot of influence probably more than it deserves.
The BMA has always taken an opposing view on vaping, and its hostile approach to harm reduction has skewed the debate for many years. It seems, however, that the BMA is changing its mind.
In a paper published on Wednesday 29th, November 2017 the BMA board of science admits ‘most studies demonstrate a positive relationship between the use of e-cigarettes and smoking cessation.
At last, the BMA Board of Science concedes there are clear potential benefits to vaping. The paper, titled E-cigarettes: Balancing risks and opportunities, acknowledges that there is a ‘growing consensus that use of e-cigarettes is significantly safer than smoking,’ and that they have the potential to reduce the health burden associated with smoking.
“growing consensus that use of e-cigarettes is significantly safer than smoking”
This is an excellent contrast to their previous statements. Up to this point, the BMA has said doctors should not recommend e-cigs as a way to quit smoking, and it has campaigned actively for bans on public vaping.
While the BMA still seems to be overly obsessed with e-cigarettes as a medical option, the paper shows a definite step back from many of their previous extreme positions. A series of highlighted boxes in the paper admit, among other things, that there is no evidence of harm from flavorings, no increase in teenage smoking and no evidence that vaping harms bystanders.