A British medical organisation has called for the promotion of e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking - a move at odds with Australian medical experts and authorities.

The Royal College of Physicians released a report on Thursday that concludes e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health, insisting their use should be encouraged.

The position is in stark contrast with that of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which warns that e-cigarettes glamorise smoking.