English health officials consider ban on e-cigarettes in public places

Health Reporter

Health officials have considered banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places in England, according to documents from a recent board meeting.

The suggestion, one of a number of options raised at a Public Health England meeting in February, proposed prohibiting e-cigarette use in “workplaces, educational and public places to ensure their use did not undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing and normalising smoking”.

Public Health England said that it had not called for a ban, and was still considering options.

Health authorities in Wales are already planning a ban on e-cigarettes in public places and Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford has expressed concerns that the products, which contain nicotine, could lead to a new generation becoming addicted to the chemical.

However, a recent study by the anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) suggested that the vast majority of e-cigarette users are current or ex-smokers, and the charity has backed the products as quit-smoking aids. 

Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s national director health and wellbeing said: “We have not called for a ban on e-cigarette use in public spaces. PHE is working with our partners to consider the options for supporting safe use of e-cigarettes to reduce harm and support smokers to quit, some of which were discussed by our Board in February.”

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