Public Health England has courted criticism from some health officials after it was revealed the executive health agency is launching TV ads to encourage smokers to quit in favour of vaping.

Coming just weeks after the health organisation labelled connections between e-cigs and teenage smoking as ‘unfounded’, Public Health England have the full backing of the NHS, and the new TV campaign is due to start next month.

In the past, Public Health England has famously said vaping is 95% safer than smoking, encouraged the NHS to prescribe e-cigs and even encouraged employers to allow vaping.

The ‘Stoptober’ campaign will begin on October 1st, featuring e-cigarettes and encourage smokers who want to use e-cigs to try and quit. This is the first time e-cigs have received the backing of the annual Stoptober campaign.

“E-cigarettes are now the most popular way to quit in the country with half of all those taking part in Stoptober last year using an e-cigarette,” said Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England.

“The evidence is clear – vaping is much less harmful than smoking – a fraction of the risk. So, if you’ve struggled with quitting before, an e-cigarette may be the best option for you.”

New statistics have shown that more smokers have quit successfully in the first half of this year than ever before in history.

It was reported in mid-August that daily vapers quit smoking at the highest rate.