E-cigarettes can be key weapon in battle against smoking, insist MPs

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                    The government is being used to make e-cigarettes available through the NHS to help smokers kick the habit

Committee chairman Norman Lewis says e-cigarettes can be "a key weapon" in the fight against smoking.

"There is no public health rationale for doing so", Mr Lamb stated.

"We will carefully consider the evidence and recommendations made in this report and will respond in due course".

If parental influence goes a long way in impacting a child's habits, again health experts feel that if less adults are smoking regular cigarettes, less children will want to smoke them too.

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

The STC says concerns that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to conventional smoking, including for young non-smokers, "have not materialised".

The report's release comes days after scientists warned that the perception that e-cigarettes are safe should be treated with caution. The latest Office for National Statistics data suggests young people are smoking in fewer numbers, with the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who smoke falling eight percentage points since 2011.

"However, we recognise that the evidence surrounding the use of e-cigarettes is evolving, and there are over three million vapers in the United Kingdom already".

- 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.

Though the legal status of e-cigarettes in pending in most countries, in 2015, around two thirds of major nations had regulated e-cigarettes in some way.

A survey in Scotland found young people who use e-cigarettes could be more likely to later smoke tobacco.

The report follows a statement by Public Health England earlier this year in which the health officials called for more tolerance for e-cigarette users and for hospitals to provide patients with vaping lounges.

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.

But some places have banned vaping.

Big cinema chains such as Cineworld, Odeon and Empire also ban smoking e-cigarettes anywhere on their premises while most theatres similarly forbid their use.

Public Health England (PHE) has estimated that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Many experts say much more research needs to be done in the area.

It says that youth smoking rates in the United Kingdom continue to decline, that regular use is rare and is nearly entirely confined to those who have smoked.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "Today's call to improve the process to enable e-cigarettes to be licensed as medicines is extremely welcome".

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