NHS Health Scotland has joined other major health bodies and organisations such as Public Health England by declaring that e-cigs are ‘definitely’ healthier than traditional cigarettes.
Lead by NHS Health Scotland, more than 20 health organisation signed up to the consensus, which aims to clarify confusion around the positive and negative aspects of vaping.
Health experts added that vaping and smoking at the same time would add no health benefits. However, they believe that e-cigs are less harmful than regular cigarettes.
The statement was agreed upon by the Scottish Government, health boards, charities including the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK and other academics, and was published by the Scotland national health education and promotion agency.
Public Health England has also backed e-cigs in the Stopober TV ad campaign, which begins on the first day of October.
There is currently an estimated 2.9 million vapers in the UK, over 50% of which had given up smoking, according to a study. There are still 9 million UK smokers.
Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: “E-cigarettes have been around for a number of years now and we are learning more and more about them but I think it is safe to say that they are a lot safer than cigarettes.”
“If we are trying to help people make a decision about giving up smoking tobacco then e-cigarettes are a good option to consider.”
“We would encourage people to consider them and we would encourage people providing smoking cessation serves to offer them as an option to people who are willing to pay for them,” said Dr Fraser.
“They contain nicotine, which is addictive in itself, and they contain and a number of other combustible materials,” Dr Fraser said.
“But if you take it all in the round and compare it with the alternative they are a lot less harmful than cigarettes.”