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Expert panel discussion: E-cigarettes

A cigarette, a broken cigarette and an e-cigarette

E-cigarettes and smoking cessation – the best path forward

Event type: Free public panel discussion
Date: Tuesday 17 January 2017, 6pm for 6:30pm start
Location: London South Bank University
Register: Bookings are now open

Comment piece

Dr Lynne Dawkins
Read Dr Lynne Dawkins' pre-debate accompanying article (PDF File 123 KB) about the main factors influencing the debate.

About the debate

Bringing together leaders in the public health and addiction space, this important event will explore how and whether e-cigarettes should be used to help people quit smoking.

The fight against tobacco has been waged since 1964 when the US Surgeon General definitively linked smoking with ill health, including lung cancer and heart disease. The habit still kills around 100,000 people each year in the UK alone. But great strides have been made – smoking rates have more than halved since the 1970s.

E-cigarettes introduce a dramatic new element to this situation. They deliver the addictive component of cigarettes (nicotine) but without the need to inhale tobacco smoke. Their use has divided public health professionals worldwide. Are they the saviour we need to help people quit smoking and reduce deaths from tobacco? Or are they a wolf in sheep’s clothing, threatening to undo 70 years’ worth of public health work?

It seems almost certain that there are both potential benefits and risks associated with endorsing e-cigarettes. Rather than have another debate, LSBU is bringing together leading minds in the field to consider the arguments and develop a way forward. Come and hear leaders in public health and tobacco discuss one of the thorniest problems in the area, and have your say.



Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Programme Lead, Public Health England. Martin is Tobacco Control Programme Lead for Public Health England. He joined PHE after 7 years at Action on Smoking and Health. Martin has worked in Public Health since the mid 1980s, when he was involved in HIV prevention work. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.


Prof. Peter Hajek, Head of Psychology, Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine. Professor Peter Hajek's research interests include addictive and health behaviours, especially smoking and weight management. He has contributed to the establishment of the UK specialist stop-smoking service, training of its staff, and relevant NICE guidelines. He is a recipient of research grants of over £10,000,000, holds a number of academic and editorial appointments, and authored or co-authored over 300 publications.

Alyssa Best, Policy Advisor, Cancer Research UK. Alyssa is Cancer Research UK’s policy advisor, with a particular focus on tobacco and e-cigarettes. Cancer Research UK is the world's largest independent cancer research charity.

Prof. Andy Parrott, Professor of Psychology, University of Wales, Swansea. An international authority on human psychobiology, Prof. Parrot has particular expertise in the psychobiology of nicotine dependency and has published extensively on how cigarette smoking causes increased stress and depression.

Patrick Saunders, Chair, UKPHR. Patrick is a Consultant in Public Health, a Visiting Professor of Public Health University of Staffordshire, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, and Associate Director of the World Health Organisation Centre for Environmental Health.

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