E-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than tobacco, do not act as a gateway to smoking and they can help smokers quit cigarettes, a report by government health body Public Health England has concluded.

It found that about one in 20 adults use e-cigs and they were used almost exclusively by smokers or ex-smokers.

It added: “Best estimates show e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes, and when supported by a smoking cessation service, help most smokers to quit tobacco altogether.”

Responding to the report, Paul Hunt, UK, managing director of V2 Cigs said: “I have always been impressed with the balanced approach that Public Health England has taken when comparing the harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes to any unknown risks. This new report will hopefully dispel many of the myths surrounding vaping and help educate the public on the benefits that it can bring.

“The bottom line is that switching to e-cigarettes offers the potential for significant health improvements for many smokers, and thousands of lives can be saved if smokers switch to e-cigarettes. In the long term there will also hopefully be significant cost savings for the NHS due to a reduction in smoking related conditions.

“Experience has shown that smokers are not likely to kick the habit through sheer will power alone. The message that we’ve heard from Public Health England today is simple: vaping offers a healthier alternative.”