SCOTRAIL has banned e-cigarettes from its trains and railway stations as concerns over their safety continue to grow.

The train company this week confirmed staff and passengers were no longer allowed to use the smoking devices on their services.

And they said there was concern other passengers might think they could smoke real cigarettes on the trains, if they saw someone using the alternative product.

The ban comes a week after 13 of Scotland's Public Health Directors urged NHS facilities to treat the devices, which produce a steam vapour, rather than smoke, the same way they treat real cigarettes.

And it follows the Government's decision to have the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) oversee the use of e-cigarettes from next year.

E-cigarettes, or personal vaporisers, provide the user with a hit of nicotine and have been promoted as the "safe" option for smokers, because they do not contain the hundreds of other chemicals in tobacco.

Celebrities including Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Britney Spears have all been seen using the devices.

In the Johnny Depp movie The Tourist, he is seen on a train using an e-cigarette.

Although they are not sold as smoking cessation devices, many users say they have helped them quit, and with bans on smoking increasing and pressure for bans on people smoking in their own cars, the e-cigarettes offer a safe alternative to second-hand smoke.

From 2014 it is expected all e-cigarettes sold in the UK will require a medicine licence.


In an earlier version of this story, we claimed some medical experts say the gel used to deliver the nicotine could be as big a risk to people's health as tobacco. In fact, we are not aware of any experts who hold that view, and accept that the evidence on which this assertion was made did not justify its use, particularly taking account of the risks of cancer, heart disease and lung cancer from real cigarettes.