Health Care

MPs call for re-think on vaping rules

MPs call for re-think on vaping rules”

But do you think e-cigarettes should be made more widely available to help people stop smoking?

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.

He added: "Concerns that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to conventional smoking, including for young non-smokers, have not materialised".

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.

A report by the Science and Technology Committee said that rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed to help accelerate already-declining smoking rates.

University of Birmingham professor David Thickett led research suggesting e-cigarettes may damage the immune system, and says the public "must be aware that these devices are not harmless". Public Health England, an autonomous agency with the country's Department of Health, said e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than normal cigarettes. They also pointed to links between some experts, the tobacco industry and firms that manufacture e-cigarettes.

Former health minister Norman Lamb - the committee chairman - wants the Government to consider allowing more freedom to advertise e-cigarettes.

"If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS's stop smoking arsenal", committee chair and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb said.

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.

- 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.

"Many mental health trusts are misinformed about the dangers of e-cigarettes and are implementing unnecessary and inappropriate bans within their facilities", the report reads.

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.

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

While there is evidence of children experimenting with e-cigarettes, "regular use in under 18s is really quite low", Hazel pointed out.

George Butterworth, from Cancer Research UK, said any changes to current e-cigarette regulations "should be aimed at helping smokers to quit whilst preventing young people from starting to use e-cigarettes".

E-cigarette makers are now banned from making any health claims for their products in advertising.

E-cigarettes are not covered by the smoking legislation which, since July 2007 in England, has banned the use of cigarettes in all enclosed public and work places.

"Apart from the nicotine, the contents of the e-cigarettes are all natural".

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