E-cigarettes could be prescribed by the NHS as a stop smoking aid following a change in guidance from medicine regulators.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has changed its guidance to allow e-cigarette manufacturers in England to submit products through a regulatory approvals process, like medicine.
With e-cigarettes able to be regulated as a medical product, it could mean that the NHS would be able to prescribe them to people trying to stop smoking.
Before this can happen, they would also need to have approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
If this were to happen, England would become the first country in the world where e-cigarettes can be prescribed as a medical product.
Current NHS Vaping Advice
Currently, vape devices are not available through the NHS, but can be commercially purchased in some pharmacies, as well as online and in a range of supermarkets and stores.
While e-cigarettes aren’t available as a prescription on the NHS at present, the NHS has previously released guidance in support of using vape kits as a stop smoking aid.
The NHS agree that, while e-cigarettes are not entirely risk-free, they have a fraction of the risk of smoking, and the benefits outweigh the risks. They support an independent evidence review published by Public Health England (PHE) which concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to health than tobacco.
Why Should E-cigarettes Be Prescribed by the NHS?
If you’re wondering why vape devices should be offered by the NHS, there are a few reasons.
Firstly, vaping has been found to be a much more effective way of quitting smoking than going cold turkey or using nicotine replacements, like patches or gum. Vaping is twice as effective as nicotine replacement.
By offering e-cigarettes as an option, it will give people a stronger chance of successfully quitting.
Secondly, smokers who are unsure about the risks of vaping would be reassured by a backing from the NHS.
Finally, vape devices on the NHS will allow access for those who would otherwise be unable to get their hands on one. Health Secretary Sajid Javid talking about the news stated: "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."
Is Vaping Safe?
Vaping has been proven to be less harmful than smoking, as vape devices do not produce carbon monoxide or tar as cigarettes do. These are the most harmful parts of tobacco smoke, and they aren’t present in E-Liquid.
E-cigarettes and nicotine E-Liquids are also tightly regulated for safety and standards in the UK.
If you can’t wait to quit, you can find our affordable vape kits online at nzo Vape.