Ministers will not ban e-cigarettes indoors in England, despite the World Health Organisation urging governments to do so to combat the threat posed by the growing popularity of vaping.
The Department of Health (DH) made clear that it does not plan to outlaw the use of the increasingly popular gadgets in enclosed public spaces in England, although Wales’s Labour government is considering doing so.
The DH ruled out making e-cigarettes subject to the same “smoke-free” controls that have applied to normal cigarettes since 2007. Smoking is currently banned in pubs, restaurants and workplaces across the UK.
The department did so despite the United Nations’ health agency recommending such prohibition as part of tougher regulation of products it said were dangerous to children.
Lobbyists and official watchdogs are divided on how to respond. The British Medical Association, which represents most of Britain’s doctors, said it backed a ban.
But the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health has opposed such a move. E-cigarettes could help smokers quit, it said.