Could E-cigs soon be available on the NHS?
With the ever-growing popularity of vaping in recent years, and the various studies that show that they can be an effective aid when an individual is trying to quit smoking, there have been calls for them to be able to be prescribed on the NHS alongside other aids such as nicotine patches and gum.
In Aug 2015 the Public Health Executive said that it was “committed to ensuring that smokers have a range of evidence-based, effective tools to help them to quit.” and that they were looking forward to the time when there would be “a choice of medicinally regulated products that can be made available to smokers by the NHS on prescription.”
The first steps towards this aim have been taken this month with e-cigs having been granted a licence by Britain’s medicines regulator for the first time when The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency awarded a licence to the British American Tobacco for its brand of e-Voke devices which will now allow it to be marketed as a smoking cessation aid.
However, despite this ground-breaking advancement, Dr Tim Ballard, the vice-chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has voiced concerns and urged for caution stating “Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of *e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, 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,” and calling for more research to be carried out before telling patients that the devices are available on the NHS.
He was also quoted as saying “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.”
This suggests that although we have seen the first steps towards the medical regulation of e-cig devices, we may still be some way off of seeing them prescribed on the NHS to help smokers who wish to quit.
Most of the best e cig review sites will point out that if we wait 10 years for evidence based information to show what the risks of e cigarettes are many smokers will die. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 5 million people WILL die from smoking in the USA alone!
- e-Voke ; MHRA medicine licence granted to BAT. BAT also manufacture the Vype eBox and Vype eTank range of e cigarettes