An innovative policy encouraging the use of e-cigarettes by people who want to give up smoking is being rolled out nationally from Herts County Council.
The new policy on guidance for using e-cigarettes is being taken up by other authorities across the country.
County Hall bosses say that it “dispels some of the misconceptions associated with e-cigarettes and vaping”.
Councillor Teresa Heritage, portfolio holder for public health, localism and libraries at County Hall, said: “We believe we are the first council in the country to develop an e-cigarette policy to provide guidance to others.
“One in five of us wrongly think e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking; nearly half of us don’t realise that e- cigarettes are actually much less harmful than smoking as they don’t contain tobacco or the harmful products of combustion.
“Whilst the best option is always to quit smoking, e-cigarettes can provide an extremely good alternative for those who aren’t quite ready to give up nicotine entirely or don’t want to.”
However not all medical bodies are convinced.
Last year researchers at the European Society for Cardiology said such steps were premature, and that they would not encourage the use of the devices.
They said that a typical vaping session had a similar impact on stiffness of the aorta - the main artery into the heart - as smoking one regular cigarette.
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