If you’ve heard of the proposal to bring electronic cigarettes under medical regulation – which is an effective ban, whatever people are saying – you may be wondering what the actual facts are. We’ve created this page as a way for you to find out. None of the resources you’ll find here are clever arguments that use big words and emotional blackmail to infuence people; you won’t find anything that says “Think of the children!” or talks about “renormalisation.” We’re sure enough of our position that we’ll just let the science speak for itself.

Let’s start with Professor Michael Siegel from Boston University School of Public Health. Professor Siegel, who has been a tobacco control expert for 25 years, is scornful of the oft-heard claim that “we don’t know what’s in them.” He said, “The truth is, we know a lot more about what is in electronic cigarettes than regular cigarettes.” Nobody is suggesting that regular cigarettes need to be classed as a medicine, are they? Professor Siegel believes that “The only ones who would be protected by a ban on e-cigarettes are the tobacco companies, as these new products represent the first real threat to their profits in decades.”

Of course you’ll find scientists who’re fanatically opposed to e-cigarettes, too; Prue Talbot from the University of California in San Francisco, for example. What you’ll find if you read their comments, though, is that they aren’t based on any hard evidence. All the evidence says that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco and there is no evidence that they’re a health risk or a “gateway” to smoking.

Socialsteak have a great new infographic about e-cigarettes and the real health issues involved. If you want to know how harmful nicotine really is, or why e-cig vapour isn’t the same as cigarette smoke, you should give this a look.

The Lancet is probably the world’s top medical journal. It’s been published since 1823 and you’ll find copies in just about every hospital in the world. On 23 July 2013 The Lancet published an article strongly criticising attempts to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines, arguing that this would stifle innovation and encourage people to keep smoking cigarettes. You can find the article here (free registration is required to read it, but it’s quick and easy.)