The scientists said the danger of electronic cigarettes

Grant Boone
August 19, 2018

The committee found that an "unacceptable" three quarters of NHS trusts are mistakenly concerned about "second-hand" e-cigarette vapour and a third of mental health trusts ban the devices completely, even though patients would "benefit considerably" from using them.

A new report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) says rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed to help accelerate already declining smoking rates.

Critics argue that e-cigarettes could act as a "gateway" to smoking, especially for young people - but this report claims non-smokers are very unlikely to take up vaping.

Mr Lamb said medically licensed e-cigarettes "would make it easier for doctors to discuss and recommend them as a stop-smoking tool to aid those quitting smoking".

E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes and should not be regulated in the same way, according to a report by MPs.

According to Public Health England (PHE), evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people.

Although the report recognised that the long-term health effects of vaping were not yet known, it said e-cigarettes were substantially less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they contained no tar or carbon monoxide.

Vaping shops across the Fylde coast have welcomed calls for rules around e-cigarettes to be relaxed so they can be more widely used and accepted in society.

They said ministers should conduct an urgent review to make it easier to get the devices on prescription.

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However chairman of the STC Norman Lamb said that current policy and regulations do not "sufficiently reflect" the lesser harm posed by e-cigarettes than their traditional alternatives.

- There should be a wider debate on how e-cigarettes are to be dealt with in our public places, to help arrive at a solution which at least starts from the evidence rather than misconceptions about their health impacts.

- The limit on the strength of refills should be reviewed as heavy smokers may be put off persisting with them-and the restriction on tank size does not appear to be founded on scientific evidence and should therefore urgently be reviewed.

'This is about comparing e-cigarettes to normal cigarettes, not fresh air.

The 2016 Youth Tobacco Policy Survey in the United Kingdom showed that 17% of 11-16 year-olds had tried e-cigarettes; 1% were using at least once a week, and 77% were "regular smokers" but had tried e-cigarettes.

"We will carefully consider the recommendations and evidence surrounding the use of inserts into cigarette packages".

Meanwhile, NHS England's "default" policy should be that e-cigarettes are permitted on mental health units, to address the "stubbornly high" levels of smoking among people with mental health conditions, the report said. A Cochrane Review found that 18,000 people in England may have given up smoking in 2015 thanks to e-cigarettes.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE told the BBC: "E-cigarettes are not without harm but are way safer than the harms of tobacco". The article lists comments from people who are skeptical of e-cigarettes.

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