Medical Experts Say E-Cigarettes Should Not Be Banned in Public Places

The Science and Technology Committee has recommended that e-cigarettes should not be included in the smoking ban in public places as it risks people not using the option to quit smoking.  The new report says that using electronic cigarettes is a safer option than tobacco smoking and the measures should be adapted to allow people to vape in more places.

Rethink the ban

According to the report, there should be a rethink of the ban on e-cigarette use as it is beneficial in helping people to stop smoking.  The report added that smokers are dying as a result of misconceptions about the technology that involves using e-liquids and vaping devices in place of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Train operators, employers and pubs have all placed blanket bans on their locations because they think that allowing e-cigarette use could make smokers less likely to quit.  But instead, the committee said, there should be incentives to get people to switch from smoking to vaping.

Making it easier to vape

Some of the ideas included in the report were that there could be dedicated vaping carriages on trains where people could go to use their e-cigarettes or others not concerned about it could also sit.  That’s because there’s not the same public health issue from second-hand vaping as from second-hand smoking.

While there is a recognition that there’s a ‘nuisance issue’ for some people around the use of vaping products, much of this is based around misconceptions that the smoke could be bad for your health.  The committee found that even among the NHS, two-thirds of people were still worried about the dangers of second-hand vaping smoke and this prevented them from recommending the option to patients.

The blanket ban instead places smokers and vapers together in a ‘sin bin’ according to Norman Lamb MP.  A former health minister, he recognises there is a real benefit to using e-cigarettes to stop tobacco smoking.  He also believes that by treating the two as the same, there is less incentive for people to switch to e-liquid vaping instead.

Other recommendations

Some of the other recommended regulatory changes that came out of the report included:

  • Removing the upper limits for nicotine strength wholesale vape fluids because the limits stop the heaviest smokers from switching as the liquid isn’t strong enough
  • Making it easier to have e-cigarette products labelled as medical quitting aids
  • Releasing some of the strictest rules about advertising the products
  • Making certain that taxation reflects relative risks, so e-cigarettes are the cheapest and tobacco products the most expensive

Critics said that the measures could mean young people are more likely to start smoking e-cigarettes, but surveys have shown this not to be the case.  There have been few examples of vaping becoming a gateway to tobacco smoking rather than the other way around.

Experts admit that some of the changes may be difficult to institute but there is definitely a value in assessing where people can vape and ensuring that there is a clear difference between vaping and smoking.

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