E-cigarettes could soon be banned in the UK under recommendations set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A report published by WHO detailed plans to ban vaping due to fears users could replace ingredients with more harmful substances.

The plans for a ban on e-cigarette products will be discussed in Glasgow later this year after being published by WHO’s tobacco regulatory committee.

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Clive Bates, a tobacco harm expert and former director of anti-smoking group ASH blasted the advice, describing it as “irresponsible and bizarre, which will protect the cigarette trade”.

The WHO report makes the case that by users being able to add their own ingredients to vapes, e-cigarettes could actually be more harmful.

It highlights vape products which allow users to modify their device, allowing users to “control device features and liquid ingredients”.

A potential ban would affect over 2.4 million vapers in the UK.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: A potential ban would affect over 2.4 million vapers in the UK. (Canva)A potential ban would affect over 2.4 million vapers in the UK. (Canva)

Clive Bates said: “The advice is completely irresponsible and bizarre.

“If governments take it seriously, they will be protecting the cigarette trade, encouraging smoking and adding to a huge toll of cancer, heart and lung disease. Something has gone badly wrong here.”

In Britain, public health officials say vaping is 97 per cent safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.

Despite evidence suggesting vaping is the most useful aid to help smokers quit the habit, the government backed research published in September 2020 highlighting that the risks of inhaling flavours included in vape juice is still largely unknown.

The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) said e-cigarettes should only be used as a stop-smoking aid.  

Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the COT, said at the time it was wrong to consider the devices as ‘harmless’. 

Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, said: “The best thing that a smoker can do is to stop smoking completely and the evidence shows that vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available, helping around 50,000 smokers quit a year. 

“Thousands more could have quit except for unfounded safety fears about e-cigarettes. 

“The evidence has been clear for some time that, while not risk-free vaping is far less harmful than smoking. 

“For anyone who smokes, particularly those who have already tried other methods, we strongly recommend they try vaping and stop smoking – ideally with additional support from their local stop smoking service for the very best chance of quitting for good.”