Our policy on e-cigarettes
We have created a central resources hub for Health Professionals which hosts all of our CRUK resources and further materials to help with managing the pandemic. We are updating the information as guidance changes. There is also a page specifically for patients on our about cancer hub.
Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our work and our policies.
The #QuitforCovid campaign launched in early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. COVID-19 is a new illness caused by a virus that can affect people’s lungs and airways. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus, including older people, people with long term health conditions and people who are immunosuppressed. Emerging evidence suggests people who smoke are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
If you or someone you know wants to stop smoking, there are a range of tools available to support you. Visit the NHS Smokefree website to find out more.
E-cigarettes are a relatively new smoking cessation tool and their long-term effects are unknown. We believe their use must be monitored extremely closely, to assess any harms associated with use and/or to see if they encourage non-smokers, particularly young people, to experiment with tobacco. But while the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are unknown, the long-term harms of tobacco are indisputable, and e-cigarettes represent an opportunity for harm reduction.
The evidence so far indicates e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco smoking and can be an effective quitting tool. Harmful chemicals may be emitted by these devices and, although these are generally at much lower levels than tobacco cigarettes, we don’t know the potential health impacts of using e-cigarettes long term. Non-smokers should never use e-cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be effectively regulated to ensure they are only used by smokers when making a quit attempt or to prevent relapse.
CRUK has increased its investment in e-cigarette research, and part of this is concentrated on answering questions on the long-term impact of e-cigarette use. We also monitor the global literature and trends to inform our position.