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expert reaction to the Science and Technology Committee’s new report on e-cigarettes

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, chaired by Norman Lamb, published its new report on e-cigarettes.


Prof Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling, said:

“This report is a welcome and evidence-based respite from all the scare stories we see about vaping.  The Science and Technology committee’s recommendations urge the government and others to do more to support smokers to switch to vaping. These recommendations are based on a fair and accurate assessment of existing evidence from the UK that suggests vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, few young people who have never smoked regularly vape, smoking in young people continues to decline, and e-cigarettes are helping smokers to quit.

“The report shines a light on the mismatch between this evidence and current practice – for example, highlighting the very high rates of smoking in people with mental health problems and the fact that one-third of mental health trusts ban vaping anywhere on their premises, even in their grounds – and it makes some practical suggestions for improvements. Its recommendations are not likely to be popular with all, and some of them may be difficult or complex to implement. But government, regulators and service providers should take note.”


Prof Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at UCL, said:

“While the report may be seen by some as radical in recommending action to facilitate the use of e-cigarettes, from the point of view of a scientist working in the field it is a welcome and common sense translation of the evidence base into a programme of action. I hope it will have a major impact on the evolution of policy.”


Declared interests

Prof Robert West undertakes research and consultancy for companies that develop and manufacture smoking cessation medicines but not e-cigarettes or tobacco products. His research is funded by Cancer Research UK.  His group at UCL submitted evidence to the committee.

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