Two NHS hospitals controversially opened vape shops on site last month as part of an initiative to help more people stop smoking traditional tobacco products.

Due to a lack of evidence on the long term effects vaping has on health, this may prove controversial.

Backing vaping is part of the NHS’ Smokefree strategy, which claims vaping has helped 1.5 million people completely stop smoking and that it is 95% less harmful than traditional smoking.

However, this decision was hit with a wave of mixed opinions as those opposing believe that vaping serves as a gateway to smoking for young adults.

Public Health England showed that 1 in 6 children aged 11-18 tried vapes, with the availability of numerous flavours one key factor.

Currently in the UK there is little legislation in place that protects minors from vaping.

Many researchers have studied the effects of vaping on health, but the long-term effects caused by vaping are still unknown.

Public perception of their health benefits is good, however. According to GlobalData’s Q4 2016 survey, 57 per cent of UK consumers found e-cigarettes appealing due to their health aspect, compared to 20 per cent who found the lower cost appealing and 20 per cent flavor.

Although most agree vapes are not deemed to be as harmful as tobacco, the controversy over the product is still a heated debate and their endorsement by hospitals will surprise many. Advocates of vapes are adamant that the products will prevent people from smoking.

Vaping has grown into a $4.4 billion industry and is showing no signs of stopping.

Health-conscious consumers are realising the negative effects of smoking but want to retain many of the habits associated with it; therefore it is likely that the number people vaping will continue to rise.

Tobacco companies have already recognised that smokers are actively switching to vaping and are therefore buying shares in vaping companies and developing their own vape brands.