AN increasingly popular form of smoking could actually help people in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area to kick the habit altogether.

NHS Fife's director of public health, Dr Margaret Hannah, said that that vapour from e-cigarettes "is not harmful" and their use can assist in weaning users away from tobacco.

In unsupported attempts in the Kingdom, the one year quit rates increased by 50 per cent if the quitter uses e-cigarettes.

And in her annual report, she said: "As they become more widely used and accessible, evidence is emerging that e-cigarettes are significantly less damaging than normal cigarettes and exposure to e-cigarette vapour is not harmful.

"In addition, evidence is building for the effectiveness of using e-cigarettes to stop smoking."

Dr Hannah said that part of the reason for a fall in the number of people trying to quit through cessation services was down to e-cigarettes, which "have become a much more popular aid to stop smoking".

She added: "We need to review the use of e-cigarettes as a quit aid and consider the role they may have in reducing smoking-related harm in Fife.

"This includes examining how stop smoking services could support people who wish to use e-cigarettes to quit and review e-cigarette use in policies for health and care agencies."