Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have welcomed new guidance on the use of e-cigarettes, which they say could help local smokers quit.

An independent review published by Public Health England (PHE) concluded that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco - and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking.

It suggested that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking, and that there is no evidence, so far, that e-cigarettes act as a route into smoking for non-smokers or children.

It also found that almost all of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers, most of whom are using the devices to help them quit smoking or to prevent them going back to cigarettes.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Smoking remains our number one killer and is still a significant issue in Wolverhampton; it is estimated that 22% of our adults smoke.

"The best thing a smoker can do is to stop smoking now, completely and forever, and we are pleased that this evidence shows that e-cigarettes, along with additional support from Stop Smoking services, can be effective in helping people quit and greatly reducing the harm to health.

"Over the coming months, we will be working with Wolverhampton Stop Smoking Service to develop their offer to smokers who want to use regulated e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

"At the same time, non-smokers should not take up e-cigarettes and are encouraged that from October 2015 it will be illegal for retailers to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s or for adults to buy them on their behalf."

She added: "There is a terrible cost to smoking; not just to the health of the individual concerned, but also the financial cost to businesses through lost productivity, and the cost to our health service of treating people with smoking-related diseases. We estimate the economic cost of smoking to Wolverhampton to be around £70 million  per year."

For help and advice to quit smoking, please contact Wolverhampton Stop Smoking Service, which offers on to one support in GP practices, pharmacies and drop in clinics, a specialist pregnancy service and home visits. For more information, please call 0800 073 4242 or 01902 444246.

Smokers will also be given help to quit during the annual Stoptober campaign, which begins on 1 October 2015. On the same day, new legislation will come into force banning smoking in cars that are carrying under 18s.

  • released: Thursday 20 August, 2015