Source - http://www.dailymail.co.uk
E-cigarette users face widespread bans on the devices in pubs, restaurants and coffee chains.
Starbucks, Caffe Nero, All Bar One, Nicholson's pubs and KFC have joined public transport companies and airlines in banning the use of e-cigarettes in their branches.
It comes after a widely criticised World Health Organisation report this summer which bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.
Uptake of e-cigarettes, which use battery-powered cartridges to produce a nicotine-laced vapour, has rocketed in the past two years, but there is fierce debate about their potential risks and benefits.
Because they are new, there's little scientific evidence on their safety. Some experts fear they could be a gateway to tobacco smoking, while others say they have potential to help millions of smokers kick the habit.
But there's little patience for solid scientific findings. the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Natural History Museum have all banned e-cigarettes, The Sunday Times reports.
'The bans are shortsighted,' said Michael Clapper, chairman of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association and co-founder of e-cigarette company Vapestick.
'The vapour release from electronic cigarettes is not harmful to bystanders... This will alienate customers who use electronic cigarettes.'
While regular cigarettes release deadly carcinogens and toxins along with their nicotine payload, and kill more than 6million people a year, e-cigarettes are said to be significantly less harmful.
But in August the WHO, the United Nations health body, commissioned a review of e-cigarettes calling for stiff regulation on their use similar to that applied to normal tobacco products.
A group of tobacco addiction experts who critiqued the report said the WHO's findings were riddled with errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations, meaning policymakers may miss their potential health benefits.
Ann McNeill, a researcher at the national addiction centre at King's College London, said: 'I was shocked and surprised when I read it. I felt it was an inaccurate portrayal of the evidence on e-cigarettes.'
McNeill said that while e-cigarettes are relatively new and 'we certainly don't yet have all the answers as to their long-term health impact', it is clear they are far safer than cigarettes.
Her co-author Peter Hajek of the tobacco dependence research unit at Queen Mary, University of London, said it was vital that e-cigarettes should be assessed in relation to the known harms of tobacco cigarettes.
'There are currently two products competing for smokers' custom,' he said. 'One - the conventional cigarette - endangers users and bystanders and recruits new customers from among non-smoking children who try it.
'The other - the e-cigarette - is orders of magnitude safer, poses no risk to bystanders, and generates negligible rates of regular use among non-smoking children who try it.'
But the British Medical Association said it supported bans, in line with its no-smoking policy.
Sheila Hollins, chairman of the BMA's board of science, told The Sunday Times: 'Stronger controls are needed on where e-cigarettes can be used to protect others from exposure, to ensure their use does not undermine existing restrictions on smoke-free public places ... and to guarantee the use of e-cigarettes does not reinforce the normalcy of smoking behaviour.'