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Opinion Still Divided on E-cigarettes

November 12, 2013
Public Health

Despite calls for a ban on electronic cigarettes by the British Medical Association, a recent poll by the BBC showed that the public are in favour of their use. Of 1,000 shoppers interviewed at London?s Westfield shopping centre only 34% supported a ban in public places. The cautious approach taken by the BMA has been based on a lack of available evidence about the health effects of using E-cigarettes, as Dr Ram Moorthy explained, “It is clear they are less harmful by several magnitudes than smoking, but we still need to have a much greater evidence base about how safe they are.”

Doctors are also concerned that the battery operated devices used by more than four million people in the UK will undermine existing smoking legislation and cause confusion in public places. In October the European Parliament introduced a number of measures aimed at making tobacco less attractive to young people, including the requirement for E-cigarettes to be subject to the same advertising restrictions as tobacco products. The measures though stopped short of advocating a full ban on their use in public areas. Invented by Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik, in 2003 after his father died of lung cancer, E-cigarettes have become a global industry with sales in the US alone worth more than $2 billion.??

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