A RECOMMENDATION by a committee of MPs that government rules on the use e-cigarettes should be relaxed has been welcomed by bosses at two East Lancashire manufacturers of the devices.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee concluded after a nine-month inquiry that ‘vaping’ is less harmful than conventional smoking and the two should not be treated in the same way.

Liam Humberstone, of Blackburn’s Totally Wicked, and Lucy Eden, of Darwen-based Liberty Flights, welcomed the report and its ‘positive recommendations'.

The two firms submitted evidence to the all-party committee.

Its report issued yesterday said that wide use of e-cigarettes could help accelerate already-declining smoking rates.

The MPs also called for steps to make it easier for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription, a wider debate on vaping in public spaces, and greater freedom for the industry to advertise the devices as a less harmful option for smokers.

Mr Humberstone, technical director of Totally Wicked, said: “In the main we are absolutely delighted with this report.

“It is positive in its comments about the health benefits of vaping as opposed to smoking conventional cigarettes.

“We have some reservations about its emphasis on doctors prescribing e-cigarettes as an aid to giving up smoking as opposed to just recommending it as a method.

“Overall it supports what we have said about the benefits of e-cigarettes and I hope the government will take notice of its recommendations.”

Mrs Eden, chief scientific officer of Liberty Flights, said: “We welcome this report.

“We are pleased the committee accepted evidence that vaping is less harmful to health than smoking traditional cigarettes," Mrs Eden added.

“The report also emphasises what Liberty Flights have always maintained, that vaping has a role to play in helping people give up smoking.

“I just hope the government will take notice of the MPs’ conclusions.”

Norman Lamb MP, chairman of the committee, said: “E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this.

“If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS stop-smoking arsenal.”