ASH response to WHO report on electronic nicotine delivery systems

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Responding to the publication of a report on electronic nicotine delivery systems (electronic cigarettes or vapourisers) Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy and Research at ASH said:

“ASH supports regulation of electronic cigarettes including controls on marketing but any regulation must be proportionate. Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK alone. Smokers who switch to using electronic cigarettes in whole or in part are likely to substantially reduce their health risks. Although we cannot be sure that electronic cigarettes are completely safe, as the WHO acknowledges, they are considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco and research suggests that they are already helping smokers to quit.

“The planned regulatory approach in the UK is consistent with the suggestions made by the WHO and balances risks and opportunities of these products. It is hoped that our regulatory regime will promote the development of safer and more effective products while ensuring that electronic cigarettes continue to be widely available to those smokers who want to use them.

“ASH does not, however, support bringing electronic cigarettes under smokefree legislation as there is no evidence of any harm to bystanders from use of these devices. By contrast, the smokefree law was brought in on the strength of the evidence that breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke is a proven health hazard. ASH believes that organisations should be free to determine their own policies on whether to permit or to prohibit use of electronic cigarettes on their premises.”

The WHO report can be accessed at: