Should e-cigarettes be prescribed on the NHS to help smokers quit?

New Public Health England report concludes vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Picture: PETER B

New Public Health England report concludes vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Picture: PETER BYRNE/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, a new report by Public Health England (PHE) reveals.

The organisation says there is “compelling evidence” for e-cigarettes to be made available to smokers on the NHS to help them quit.

The electronic alternatives could be helping at least 20,000 people give up smoking per year, PHE has estimated.

Researchers found that thousands of smokers “incorrectly” believe vaping is as harmful as smoking, with the use of e-cigarettes hitting a plateau.

Professor John Newton, director for health improvement at PHE, said: “Every minute someone is admitted to hospital from smoking, with around 79,000 deaths a year in England alone.


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“Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know.

“It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.”

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PHE has determined that hospitals should sell e-cigarettes in their shops and swap smoking shelters for vaping lounges.

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