Caution over e-cigs vaping
Councillors and health campaigners raised concerns about e-cigarettes despite official evidence saying they are 95% safer than cigarettes.
Battery operated e-cigs have become the most popular way of quitting tobacco in England.
But members of Hartlepool council’s Audit and Scrutiny Committee said they needed to get the message out that they are still not known to be completely safe.
Carole Johnson, the council’s head of health improvement, said there is an inaccurate belief among the public that vaping is at least as damaging as smoking tobacco.
Ms Johnson said: “All the evidence is saying they are a safer option to smoking cigarettes. We must be saying that to people because a lot of the population believe they are harmful.
“We should be getting the message across that they can be a real aid to quitting smoking.”
E-cigarettes are said to release negligible levels of nicotine into air and do not contain the toxins found in burning tobacco. But there is no data yet as to their long-term use.
Councillor Rob Cook, vice chair of the committee, said: There are conflicting stories that there is still a danger because there are carcinogenics in whatever this liquid is.”
Gordon Goddard of North East Empowerment and Diversity (NEED), said there were risks around e-cigs bursting into flames and of nicotine poisoning due to a growth in home production.
Committee chair Ray Martin-Wells said: “We do err that there is still a doubt as to the 100% safety record of e-cigarettes.”