Skip to main content

Electronic Cigarettes

Question for Department of Health

UIN 227133, tabled on 11 March 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of research on the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.

Answered on

18 March 2015

According to the ASH Smokefree GB survey, around two million adults in Great Britain currently use e-cigarettes. A third are ex-smokers who have given up completely, and a further third are using them as part of a quit attempt.

While e-cigarettes are not completely without risk, they carry a far lower risk to health than smoking tobacco. A recent Cochrane Review found that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit or reduce their smoking and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) advice to local stop smoking services is that they should be open to helping smokers who want to quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, especially in those that have tried, but not succeeded, in stopping smoking with the use of licenced stop smoking medicines.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for reviewing the evidence on e-cigarettes and providing evidence-based recommendations to inform the Government’s future thinking. In May 2014 PHE published an expert report from Professor John Britton, one of the UK’s leading respiratory physicians and tobacco researchers (available at: