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e-cigarettes: a critique of the WHO reports

There is a row developing over e-cigarettes. Some people are extolling their virtues whilst others are calling for a precautionary clamp down. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published two reports calling for further regulation and the banning of e-cigarette use indoors. Experts critiqued the evidence behind the claims in a report published in the journal Addiction.

The authors of the paper came to the Science Media Centre to discuss:

  • What is the evidence that e-cigarettes harm bystanders? Should they be banned indoors?
  • Are young people moving straight to e-cigarettes? Are non-smokers taking up e-cigarettes?
  • Are they helping people to quit smoking or reducing the number of cigarettes smoked?
  • Why are expert groups reaching differing conclusions on the pros and cons of e-cigarettes?
  • Are there any areas of agreement between the opposing sides of the debate?



Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London

Prof Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, National Addiction Centre, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry

Dr Hayden McRobbie, Reader in Public Health Interventions, Queen Mary, University of London

Prof Robert West, Editor-in-Chief of Addiction and Director of Tobacco Research at UCL


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