Government must stop overlooking '95% less harmful' e-cigarettes, say MPs

Woman smoking an e-cigarette

The RCP recommended that e-cigarettes be promoted widely as a substitute for smoking in order to benefit people's health and stop them smoking.

Vaping is much less harmful than normal cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people quit smoking, it said.

Almost 3m people in the United Kingdom are now using e-cigarettes, the report claimed, and an estimated 470,000 are using them as "an aid to stop smoking".

"E-cigarettes are more likely to be a gateway out of smoking for adults than a gateway into smoking for children", Hazel said.

They say if e-cigarettes become more socially acceptable, less people will smoke and cause harm to themselves and others. A study by the New York University School of Medicine found smoke from e-cigarettes damages DNA and can increased the risk of cancer and heart disease in mice.

Vaping is less harmful than conventional smoking and the two should not be treated as the same, according to a report by the Science and Technology Committee. "There is no public health rationale for doing so", said committee chairman Norman Lamb.

Public Health England (PHE) has estimated that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking and the STC said that while there are still "uncertainties" about their long-term effects, they provide an opportunity to "significantly accelerate already declining smoking rates".

Registering e-cigarettes as medical devices and relaxing restrictions around using them in public places could be for the greater good, a government select committee has advised in its latest report.

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Laws around using the e-cigarettes in public spaces should also be relaxed, advised the committee.

- 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.

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

The report comes a month after Silicon Valley e-cigarette maker Juul launched its flash drive-sized vaping device in Britain, following huge success in the United States.

- The prohibition on making claims for the relative health benefits of stopping smoking and using e-cigarettes instead has prevented manufacturers informing smokers of the potential benefits and should be reviewed to identify scope for change post-Brexit.

"The percentage of people smoking among those with mental health conditions remains stubbornly high, while it is declining in the general population".

"E-cigs in teens are a gateway to subsequent smoking lit cigarettes and e-cig vapour contains a large number of toxins which in time will obviously harm users, and bystanders".

'The UK leads the world in harm reduction from tobacco and there is no evidence that they are acting as a gateway into smoking for young people'. In the United Kingdom a person must be 18 to buy e-cigarettes or the e-liquids they vaporise.

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