Regulators are looking into the possibility of having e-cigarettes become licensed medical products as they have been proven to help with quitting smoking.
Vaping to quit smoking tobacco
Vaping can help by giving smokers a dosage of nicotine without the toxicadditives found in tobacco. If the proposal is accepted, manufacturers will be able to submit their models to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical distribution.
This would make England the first country in the world to try out the innovative approach to quitting tobacco. Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, explained that:
Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.
This country continues to be a global leader on healthcare, whether it’s our Covid vaccine rollout or our innovative public health measures reducing people’s risk of serious illness.
Smoking more deadly than COVID-19
It is estimated that about seven million people in the UK consider themselves addicted to tobacco, and nearly 78,000 of those British smokers die every year due to smoking-related complications. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, illustrates the extent of tobacco's contribution to premature deaths in the UK by saying that:
Smoking is likely to have caused more premature deaths in the UK last year than the Covid pandemic.
Consumer e-cigarettes bought over the counter are proven to be the most successful quitting aid, but nearly a third of smokers have never tried them, and a similar proportion believe, wrongly, that e-cigarettes are as, or more harmful, than smoking.
These are the smokers who are more likely to try vaping if they had the reassurance provided by a medicines licence and products which are available on prescription.