A study conducted by top tobacco control experts has found that e-cigarettes provide public health benefits based on “conservative estimates”.

Published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the study’s lead author David Levy, PhD, a professor of oncology, argues, “recent claims by some scientist that e-cigarettes are likely to act as a gateway to the use of tobacco products are overstated”.

Levy says that if e-cigarettes are used instead of tobacco, harm will be reduced and public health will be improved.

Despite claims that e-cigarettes are a “gateway” to smoking, a recent European study found minimal use among non-smokers.

“Our study indicates that, considering a broad range of reasonable scenarios, e-cigarettes are likely to reduce cigarette smoking and not lead to offsetting increases in harm from the use of e-cigarettes and more deadly cigarettes,” Levy says.

“When we consider the plausible positive and negative aspects of e-cigarette use, we find that vaping is likely to have a net positive public health impact.”

The team, comprised of US, Australian and Canadian researchers, have projected that smoking-attributed deaths would fall 21% and add 20% of years lost due to cigarette smoking. This is if smokers switched to e-cigs.

“Our model is consistent with recent evidence that, while e-cigarette use has markedly increased, cigarette smoking among youth and young adults has fallen dramatically,” Levy says.

This isn’t the first time health and medical officials have spoken highly of e-cigs. Doctors from the Royal College of Physicians recently recommended giving e-cigs to smokers looking to quit.