Last week, Public Health England (PHE) published 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.
There are more questions than answers after reading of this review! In Lancet editorial this work was declared methodologically weak and controversial caused by the declared conflicts of interest surrounding its funding, raising serious questions not only about the conclusions of the this report, but also about the quality of the agency's peer review process.