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New chief of Royal College of GPs calls vaping a ‘lifestyle choice’

Helen Stokes-Lampard has only been in her new role as chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs (General Practitioners) for about a month, but already she is breaking from conventional wisdom prevailing the UK medical community by demonizing vaping. In a Christmas Eve interview posted in The Times, the UK’s top doc called for an immediate ban on public vaping, labeling it a “lifestyle choice.” 

The Royal College of GPs should not be confused with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).  The latter organization has been on record since April 2015 as stating that e-cigs and vaping are approximately 95 percent safer and healthier than smoking.  The RCP also believes that e-cigs should be “promoted as widely as possible,” further recommending that doctors inform their patients of the many public health benefits of vaping when choosing among the many available nicotine replacement therapies to quit smoking.

Is Stokes-Lampard qualified to lead the Royal College of GPs?

Perhaps the newly appointed Stokes-Lampard didn’t get the RCP memo because her recent statements fly in the face of her competing agency.  She has essentially insisted that electronic cigarettes “must be confined to medically supervised attempts to quit smoking.”  In her mind, vaping and smoking are one-in-the-same.

“The only place that I see vaping has is for people cutting down from smoking on their way to quitting, and therefore the appropriate thing is to treat it like smoking… “I think it would be a retrograde step to allow vaping in public places.”
“At the Royal College of GPs, we don’t allow people to vape in the building. Until we have the full evidence base, we are taking the conservative approach that we do not allow smoking, we do not allow vaping because it’s so closely aligned.”

So, even though the UK’s the Royal College of Physicians has publicly praised vaping as an infinitely healthier alternative to smoking, Stokes-Lampard seems to think that she knows better.  Even though the Royal College of Physicians has thousands of members and has been the leading medical professional body in the UK dedicated to improving the practice of medicine since 1518, Stokes-Lampard - who was just hired as head of the Royal College of GPs on November 19, 2016- has the wherewithal to claim that she knows better.  The original Times article can be located online.


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