RCGP and CRUK joint position statement on e-cigarettes

Man with e-cig


Download the RCGP and CRUK position statement on e-cigarettes

The RCGP official position on e-cigarettes was released in partnership with CRUK in 2016 but was updated in September 2017 to reflect new evidence.

A review in August 2018 concluded the position statement was still fit for purpose.

The resources on this page were produced as part of the RCGP/Cancer Research UK Cancer as a Clinical Priority Partnership which ended in March 2020.

  • Based on the evidence to date, vaping is a lot less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco
  • Evidence so far that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to smoking in the UK is not convincing
  • Existing evidence suggests that exhaled vapour is not harmful to others, in contrast to second hand smoke which is
  • Evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are more effective for smoking cessation compared to both over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy, and quitting unaided.
  • Users need to stop smoking and switch completely to e-cigarettes to get the reduced exposure to key toxicants from cigarettes.


The recommendations for Primary Care Clinicians in the position statement are:

  1. Firstly, Primary Care Clinicians (PCCs) should provide advice to smoking patients on the health risks of smoking

  2. Secondly, patients should be advised that behavioural support and prescription medication from local Stop Smoking Services is the most effective quit method.

  3. Thirdly, using their clinical judgement on an individual patient basis, Primary Care Clinicians may wish to discuss e-cigarette use as a means to stopping

  4. Lastly, Primary Care Clinicians should bear in mind that e-cigarettes offer a wide reaching, relatively low-cost opportunity to reduce smoking prevalence


E-cigarettes are helpful but stop smoking services are the most successful way to quit smoking.

We now also have evidence that e-cigarettes also are highly effective alongside behavioural support

Contact us

For more information on the e-cigarette statement please email the team

See also



Last reviewed

You can find out more about the evidence base on e-cigarettes to inform your clinical practice by watching or listening to a 10-minute clip on the RCGP/CRUK position statement/reading the position statement

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