The scientists said the danger of electronic cigarettes

Henrietta Brewer
August 19, 2018

He goes on to say that e-cigarettes could be a tool used by the NHS to help those looking to stop smoking.

There should be an urgent review to make it easier for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription, "wider debate" on vaping in public spaces, and greater freedom for the industry to advertise the devices as a less harmful option for smokers, they said.

A report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee says ministers should "urgently" review the prescribing restrictions on e-cigarette products, which MPs conclude are 95% less harmful to health than conventional cigarettes and are too often overlooked as a smoking cessation tool.

Expert opinion is divided on whether e-cigarettes can act as a young person's gateway to tobacco.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the report but said it had some concerns over rule changes on advertising, which could mean tobacco companies being allowed to market their e-cigarettes in packs of cigarettes.


He said: "Businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same".

The report comes as part of an inquiry into e-cigarettes by the Science and Technology Committee, which is examining the impact of electronic cigarettes on human health.

The report comes days after scientists warned that the perception that e-cigarettes are safe should be treated with caution. "If people switch from smoking to vaping they will be doing their health a favour".

The committee said the restrictions were "extraordinary" given those suffering from mental health issues smoke "significantly more" than the rest of the population and are nearly 2.5 times more likely to take up the habit.

The report also called for limits on refill strengths and tank sizes to be reviewed and suggested that e-cigarettes should be allowed on mental health units.


"Many mental health trusts are misinformed about the dangers of e-cigarettes and are implementing unnecessary and inappropriate bans within their facilities", the report reads.

"E-cigarettes are a proven stop smoking tool and, while uncertainties undoubtedly remain about their long-term health impact, failing to explore the use of e-cigarettes could lead to the continued use of conventional cigarettes-which now kill around 79,000 people in England every year".

While there is evidence of children experimenting with e-cigarettes, "regular use in under 18s is really quite low", Hazel pointed out.

"There is no doubt that e-cigarettes get a bad press and it is about time they were publicly discussed and their benefits highlighted".

MPs want to review a ban preventing such a move - as it would now be considered as tobacco advertising. A lit conventional cigarette contains tobacco and produces carbon monoxide, tar and smoke, whilst an e-cigarette does not contain tobacco and heats up its nicotine liquid rather than burning it, the report explains.


It is estimated that around 2.9m people in the United Kingdom are now using e-cigarettes. Nicotine - which is contained in e-cigarettes - is itself an addictive substance that increases heart rate and blood pressure.

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