While e-cigarettes are not risk free, and for smokers quitting altogether remains the best way to improve health, I do welcome evidence which indicates that they are considerably less harmful to health than cigarettes. Moreover, I recognise the important part which e-cigarettes can play in helping smokers to quit, with ONS figures showing that around half of e-cigarette users vape as an aid to stop smoking.
International peer-reviewed evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from e-cigarette vapour is extremely low, and is insufficient to justify the prohibition of e-cigarettes. Given that the conclusive evidence of harm from second-hand smoke from cigarettes forms the basis of UK smokefree laws, I understand that e-cigarette use is not covered by this same legislation.
That said, I completely appreciate that the use of e-cigarettes in public places can be a nuisance. That is why I am glad that Public Health England (PHE) has produced guidance for employers and organisations looking to introduce policies around e-cigarettes and vaping in public. This guidance stipulates a number of considerations which it recommends be taken into account by employers and organisations when forming their policy on e-cigarettes. These include the fact that vaping can be a nuisance or distraction for people nearby, and that people with asthma and other respiratory conditions can be sensitive to a range of environmental irritants such as e-cigarette vapour.