France has become the latest country to issue official guidance in favour of e-cigarettes, suggesting they are an effective tool for smokers who are looking to reduce or replace tobacco.
Tabac Info Service, run by government body Public Health France, said this week “according to the latest work of the High Council on Public Health (Haut Conseil de la Santé Publique), electronic cigarettes can constitute a tool to help stop or reduce consumption of tobacco“ and also “reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as cancer”.
The stop-smoking campaign has said e-cigarettes are "much less harmful than traditional cigarettes".
It also found vapers who continued to smoke while using e-cigarettes still reduce their tobacco consumption by an average of nine cigarettes per day, meaning vaping can be used as a "progressive tool" for quitting smoking.
Tabac Info Service's conclusions echo those reached by Public Health England last August, which concluded e-cigarettes were 95 per cent less harmful than traditional tobacco, and the Royal College of Physicians in a landmark report in May.
Although the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes have yet to be established, British and Belgian public health authorities have started promoting them as a way to lessen the overall public health burden.
E-cigarettes supply the nicotine smokers are addicted to without the harmful and carcinogenic components of tobacco smoke, meaning they prevent most of the harm smoking causes.
The Royal College of Physicians said in its report that smokers should be "reassured and encouraged" to use them, while the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.
“This advice is extremely welcome, as it shows that France is following in the footsteps of other European countries and recognising that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco products and should be encouraged as an alternative,” said Marc Michelsen, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Fontem Ventures, said.
“We hope that more European countries will heed this advice and take a serious look at the public health evidence in favour of electronic cigarettes as an alternative for traditional tobacco products.”