E-Cigarettes have officially been licensed as a stop smoking aid, meaning that they can be prescribed on the NHS to try and encourage people to quit smoking. So far only the e-Voke is available, further variants are likely to be included in the near future.
It’s a decision that has been made quietly to try and stop an overwhelming rush of people demanding the service, said MP’s.
“We want to ensure licensed nicotine-containing products — including e-cigarettes — which make medicinal claims are available and meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms from smoking,” the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement on Monday.
Currently around 2 Million Brits are using some form of E-Cigarette, most of which are ex-smokers. We are not just including your average 14 year old hiding down the park with a cheeky fag.
There have been various studies into the damage to health caused by E-Cigarettes but to be honest, so far most of them have been rather inconclusive. There were initial reports that they were more dangerous than their cigarette counterparts and that they were linked to a chemical that was known to cause bronchiolitis type conditions.
I think that it’s clear that more research is required into the exact health implications, but in this day and age, isn’t everything bad for you? Although I’m not sure I agree about them being available on the NHS just yet, especially when it’s already cash strapped. If we can prove in 5 years time that the benefits outweigh the cons, then I’ll be interested to hear more. If they turn out to be just as bad as real cigarettes, then what’s the point, we may as well just prescribe 20 Mayfair. Also kids, stop smoking. It’s not cool.
Dr Tim Ballard – The vice chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners has already questioned the NHS funding the cost of E-Cigarettes and has also agreed that further research is required, before an outright decision is made.
“We welcome e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but it would be unreasonable for the NHS to be asked to actually fund lifestyle choices for people,” he said.
“Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme,” he added, “but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit.”
For help giving up, seek help from your GP or visit the NHS Choices website.