Health chiefs have welcomed news that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking.
Officials at Fresh have backed the report on e-cigarettes, produced by independent experts for Public Health England.
The report, which suggests that just under three million people currently use e-cigarettes, shows they are likely to be helping at least 20,000 people to quit smoking every year.
But the report raises serious concerns about public misunderstanding of the risks and benefits of e-cigarette use.
Millions of smokers wrongly think that vaping is as harmful as smoking, and fewer than one in ten adults knows that most of the health damage caused by smoking comes from the by-products of cigarette combustion, not from the nicotine content.
Among the key findings are that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking, and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits. The evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people.
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “Tobacco smoking kills one in two smokers, and North East hospitals see 38,000 hospital admissions every year from smoking.
“Vaping is not smoking and we do need to end the confusion around this.
“Most people who vape are doing so with the aim of switching from tobacco. Electronic cigarette products are now the country’s most popular quitting aid, and we need to support anyone using them to stay tobacco-free.
“We fully support PHE’s recommendation that smokers who have struggled to quit should try vaping as an alternative to smoking.”
To read the full report visit www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review