A report by leading doctors that concludes e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking has been welcomed by a cancer charity in Northern Ireland.
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland encouraged smokers to try 'vaping' instead after the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said that e-cigarettes are likely to benefit the health of the nation.
Since e-cigarettes became available in the UK in 2007, their use has been mired in controversy. But the new 200-page report found that e-cigarette use is likely to lead to attempts to quit that would not otherwise have happened - and some users will be successful at stopping.
The RCP report said e-cigarettes should be widely promoted as a substitute to smoking.
Gerry McElwee, Cancer Focus NI's head of cancer prevention, said "electronic cigarettes have the potential to reduce the enormous harm caused by tobacco".
"Smoking is the greatest cause of preventable death and disease and stopping smoking is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health," he said.
Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP's Tobacco Advisory Group, said: "This lays to rest almost all the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with regulation, they have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking causes in the UK."