The RSPH has called for the introduction of a smoking exclusion zone around pubs, bars and schools, allowing use of e-cigarettes but not allowing cigarette smoking.
If smoking was banned from outside pubs and bars 50 per cent of adults would be more likely to use these areas, and roughly one third of smokers would be more likely to use alternatives to cigarettes such as e-cigarettes or Nicotine Replacement Therapy (gum, lozenges, and patches), the organisation said.
A RSPH survey carried out by Populous found that 90 per cent of the public regards nicotine itself as harmful while it is in fact fairly harmless without the other damaging chemicals in cigarettes. The organisation is now calling for measures to promote safer forms of nicotine products to smokers and make it harder to use tobacco.
Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH "Clearly we would rather people didn’t smoke, but in line with NICE guidance on reducing the harm from tobacco, using safer forms of nicotine such as NRT and e-cigarettes are effective in helping people quit.
"Getting people onto nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health – clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine, but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction."