"We do not want to see young people using e-cigarettes but if they are using e-cigarettes instead of smoking tobacco and they are doing less harm, then there is a slightly different argument there". Exactly how much is disputed - including Public Health England's estimate that it is 95 per cent safer - but few think e-cigarettes will turn out to be more unsafe than a product that kills 60 per cent of its users....
A landmark review by Public Health England (PHE) published in 2015 said vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.
The report also found that second-hand vapour wasn't as risky as previously thought, and that e-cigarettes aren't a gateway to smoking. "If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS stop-smoking arsenal".
Vaping is much less harmful than normal cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people quit smoking, it said.
Chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health Deborah Arnott said: "Licensed products could transform the public's understanding of e-cigarettes and help many more smokers see vaping as a viable alternative to smoking".
It is with that distinction in mind that the board says that vaping devices should be licensed for medical use to help smokers quit.
Norman Lamb MP, the committee chair, said: "Smoking remains a national health crisis and the government should be considering innovative ways of reducing the smoking rate".
Public Health England says e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco and that there is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking cigarettes. The approval systems for prescribing these products must be urgently reviewed.
Vaping is more likely to be 'a gateway out of smoking for adults, than a gateway into smoking for children, ' it is said.
Former health minister Norman Lamb - the committee chairman - wants the Government to consider allowing more freedom to advertise e-cigarettes.
The report also called for limits on refill strengths and tank sizes, which may put off heavy smokers looking for a strong nicotine hit, to be reviewed.
"It is therefore extraordinary that one-third of mental health trusts ban the use of e-cigarettes completely, while three-quarters of NHS trusts are mistakenly concerned about "second-hand" e-cigarette vapour".
'The UK leads the world in harm reduction from tobacco and there is no evidence that they are acting as a gateway into smoking for young people'.
Meanwhile, NHS England's "default" policy should be that e-cigarettes are permitted on mental health units, to address the "stubbornly high" levels of smoking among people with mental health conditions, the report said.
In the United States, at least 48 states and 2 territories have banned e-cigarette sales to minors.