Caution Urged over Rush to Embrace Vaping

17 August 2018, Ross Matthewman

Following the new report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on vaping, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged caution in the rush to embrace vaping.

The report concluded that vaping is far less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and that rules around advertising and the use of vapers in public spaces should be relaxed. The committee also called for vaping to be prescribed by the NHS to support people looking to quit smoking.

However, a new paper from the University of Birmingham has contradicted these claims, stating that e-cigarettes are not safe and are implicated in serious health concerns. The Department for Health and Social Care has now agreed to consider the University’s research.

Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH, said:

“It is clear that there is a huge knowledge gap on the health impacts of vaping over time, and the existence of contradictory reports only highlights the wide-spread confusion.

This aligns with what we have been saying for the last 18 months where we have consistently expressed caution around e-cigarettes. Whilst we whole-heartedly support measures to encourage smokers to give up, we believe that the evidence gap on the long-term health implications of vaping needs addressing as a priority and more research carried out.

Quite simply, until more is known it would be irresponsible to wholeheartedly embrace vaping as the answer. “


Notes to Editors

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 8,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter.