Dr. Ruairi Hanley on why doctors should prescribe vaping to smokers

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among those aiming to give up smoking, but are they the best way forward?

Dr. Ruairi Hanley sees vaping as a positive, and believes doctors should prescribe it as an alternative to cigarettes.

"These vaping devices are 95% safer than ordinary cigarettes," he said. With five to six thousand people a year dying from smoking related illnesses, he thinks vaping devices could have an "enormous public health benefit."

"They have a role to play in getting people off cigarettes, so I think it's a really great breakthrough."

While the HSE says there's a lack of long-term data on their safety, Ruairi maintains that they are less harmful than ordinary cigarettes. He said that, although the best thing would obviously be for people to stop smoking altogether, "We must not allow the best to become the enemy of the good."

The number of smokers in Ireland is dropping, but what's the best way to get this to continue? Ruairi feels the answer is to raise taxes on cigarettes, which he says would encourage more people to switch to vaping.

He also gave his views on Danny Healy-Rae's comments that eating a large meal before getting behind the wheel of a car could be as dangerous as drink driving.

Listen below:

Dr. Ruairi Hanley joins us every Wednesday for The Last Word on Health.