Britain’s top family doctor was targeted by online trolls connected with the vaping industry after she warned people not to take up e-cigarettes.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has revealed that she received a torrent of abuse on social media after warning people that there is no guarantee that vaping is safe.

The accounts responsible were masquerading as members of the public. In reality they appear to have been linked to vaping lobbyists.

“I was making some very sensible comments about how vaping was far safer than smoking but that we did not have a strong evidence base that it was totally safe,” Professor Stokes-Lampard said. “The message was that using vaping as an aide to smoking is great, but…