MPs back call to relax rules around smoking e-cigarettes in public

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In their report, they suggest e-cigarettes could be allowed on buses and trains and should be available on prescription to help people give up smoking.

MPs are advising that the government relaxes its vaping laws so that e-cigarettes can be used to help people quit smoking.

Misconceptions about e-cigarettes include that they are a "gateway" to smoking and that they pose a significant risk through second-hand inhalation, both of which are not true, according to the Commons's science and technology committee.

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.

"Businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same", he said. Exactly how much is disputed - including Public Health England's estimate that it is 95 per cent safer - but few think e-cigarettes will turn out to be more risky than a product that kills 60 per cent of its users....

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.

Rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed so they can be more widely used and accepted in society, says a report by a committee of MPs.

- The government, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the e-cigarette industry should review how approval systems for stop smoking therapies could be streamlined should e-cigarette manufacturers put forward a product for medical licensing.

The committee is calling on the government to consider "risk-based regulation" to allow more freedom to advertise e-cigarettes as the "relatively less harmful option" and provide financial incentives, in the form of lower levels of taxation, for smokers to swap from cigarettes to less harmful alternatives.

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- 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.

They also said the government should look again at regulations limiting e-juice refill strengths and tank sizes which were brought in by the EU.

The small experimental study, led by Prof David Thickett, at the University of Birmingham, found it can damage the lungs although further research is needed to better understand the long-term health impact.

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

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.

"NHS England's default policy should be that e-cigarettes should be permitted in mental health units".

Smoking e-cigarettes is less harmful than regular smoking, according to a new report. It comes despite a string of reports - including one this week from British scientists - warning that e-cigarette vapour can cause lung damage.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: 'E-cigarettes are not without harm but are way safer than the harms of tobacco.

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