The Royal College of Physicians says "e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking".
While it supports regulation of electronic cigarettes, the doctors group does not support the Welsh Government's plans to ban the use of e-cigs in enclosed public places.
The RCP says: "On the basis of available evidence, the RCP believes that e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking, prevent many deaths and episodes of serious illness, and help to reduce the social inequalities in health that tobacco smoking currently exacerbates."
It has published its response to the Welsh Government's consultation, saying:
- Electronic cigarettes and other novel nicotine devices can provide an effective, affordable and readily available retail alternative to conventional cigarettes
- These new products present potential risks as well as opportunities for health, and therefore the RCP advocates proportionate regulation
- Regulation should ensure that products deliver nicotine effectively and safely, that advertising and promotion do not target young people or other non-smokers, and that advertising and use (for example, in public places) do not undermine smoking prevention policies
- The RCP supports regulation of electronic cigarettes - and close monitoring of their use is essential to ensure trends counter to public health are identified and acted upon
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All the main denominations contacted by ITV Cymru Wales had experienced a decline of at least 50% in their membership since 1990.