There are some signs that this may be happening, with a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday stating that more than 263,000 US schoolchildren who had never smoked traditional cigarettes smoked e-cigarettes in 2013, up from 79,000 two years previously.
"E-cigarettes - although not risk free - are almost certainly far safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes that kill 100,000 people in the U.K. every year," George Butterworth, Cancer Research U.K.'s tobacco policy manager, told CNBC.
The WHO report itself is more of a reflection of the mood among regulators around the world, rather than a sea change, according to Cheeseman.
"With the exception of a ban in public places there are no recommendations in the report that are not currently being implemented in the U.K," she told CNBC.
"It has set out principles that show countries the risks that they have to manage."
- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle