Our policy on e-cigarettes

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Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our work and our policies.

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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.

Infographic explaining e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking

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.

Support those who want to stop smoking

Image of someone snapping a cigarette in half

Your local service that helps people quit smoking could be at risk as a result of cuts to public health funding. 

See more on public health funding issues

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