'Pregnant women who smoke should be encouraged to switch to e-cigarettes, health officials claim.
Midwives and doctors are being urged to be ‘positive’ about the devices and explain that they are probably safer than tobacco.
Patients should also be allowed to vape in hospital – and hospitals should ensure e-cigarettes are available in their shops, it was suggested.
The recommendations from the government agency Public Health England claim vaping is less than 5 per cent as dangerous as smoking.
PHE has published a review of the evidence, which states e-cigarettes are helping tens of thousands of smokers quit.
But experts said the advice was premature, as not enough is known about the long-term risks. Recent studies linked vaping to heart disease, bronchitis, lung and bladder cancer and nicotine addiction.
Approximately 2.9million adults in the UK use e-cigarettes, while 7.6million smoke ordinary cigarettes.
Some use both if trying to wean themselves off tobacco. But PHE believes many aren’t bothering to try e-cigarettes in the mistaken belief that they are just as harmful.'
Read more: Hospitals are told to sell e-cigarettes and even to allow patients to vape from their hospital beds with health chiefs saying it will help people to stop smoking
Vaping may raise cancer and heart disease risk, study suggests
'Vaping may raise the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, according to a team of scientists who studied the effects of e-cigarette smoke on healthy mice and human cells.
Researchers found evidence that nicotine inhaled from e-cigarettes could be converted into chemicals that damage DNA in the heart, lungs and bladder, and dampen down the body’s genetic repair mechanisms.
Moon-shong Tang, professor of environmental medicine at New York University, said the DNA changes were similar to those linked to secondhand smoke, but added that more work was needed to see whether vaping really did increase cancer rates.
The researchers have now launched long-term experiments to look at the development of tumours in mice exposed to vapour from e-cigarettes, but Tang does not expect to have answers any time soon. “The results may take years to come in because cancer is such a slow process,” he said.
While some researchers said the work was important, others all but dismissed it as irrelevant to humans. The mice were exposed to high levels of e-cigarette smoke and the effects may be very different in people who inhale nicotine from vaping, critics caution.'
Read more ...