In a statement on e-cigs, the group Mental Health & Smoking Partnership wants more help to be given to smokers with mental health conditions and believes e-cigarettes can help people in this category.

The statement said that smoking is part of the culture “in too many mental health settings” and that e-cigs, along with other nicotine replacement therapies, should be offered as a means of quitting traditional cigarettes.

The group is made of several health bodies and charities, and co-chair Professor Ann McNeill is a renowned expert on addiction, revealed that those with mental health conditions are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes.

“This is a great inequality leading to early death and years of chronic illness for many. E-cigarettes provide a new opportunity for people to move away from smoking and avoid the terrible burden of death and disease it causes.”

As smoking rates in the UK has steadily decreased, smoking rates among those with mental health conditions has remained the same, with around 70% of people on psychiatric units using tobacco cigarettes, and the group is calling for e-cigs to be given to smokers with mental health issues.

“E-cigarettes offer another opportunity for smokers with mental health conditions that haven’t been able to stop using other methods. They should be offered as a legitimate method of quitting across all mental health settings,” said Alyssa Best, Cancer Research UK’s policy adviser.

It has recently been reported that by smokers switching to e-cigs, there could be fewer premature deaths.