E-cigarettes Will Be Available on The NHS in The UK for Its First Time

On 29th Oct. 2021, GOV.UK released the latest regulatory policy on E-cigarettes, it said “England could be the first country in the world to prescribe medicinally licensed e-cigarettes to help reduce smoking rates” which is astonishing and inspiring.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-could-be-prescribed-on-the-nhs-in-world-first

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products, as Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the latest step forward in the licensing process for manufacturers. Hence, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated directory that paves the way for medically prescribed vaping device for smokers who want to quit.

The UK medical regulator will collaborate with e-cigarettes manufacturers to assess the safety and validity of vaping products. The UK GOV. claimed that this new policy will support to achieve their “non-smoking” master plan, and reduce the health disparities among smokers by 2030. NHS(National Health Service) also approved that vaping can help people quit smoking.

Let’s put it in this way, the UK GOV. not only admitted the availability of e-cigarettes but also implemented medical policies to support the use of e-cigarettes because the government agreed to take the e-cigarettes as “smoking cessation products” for smokers to quit.

Manufacturers can approach the MHRA to submit their products to go through the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available on the health service.

This could mean England becomes the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product.

If a product receives MHRA approval, clinicians could then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it would be appropriate to prescribe an e-cigarette to NHS patients to help them quit smoking. It remains the case that non-smokers and children are strongly advised against using e-cigarettes. E-cigarette contains nicotine so it’s still not risk free. Experts said: “regulated vapes are much less harmful than smoking.” That’s to say, e-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not risk free, but expert reviews from the UK and US have been clear that the regulated e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. A medicinally licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks.

E-cigarettes were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020. E-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in supporting those trying to quit, with 27.2% of smokers using them compared with 18.2% using nicotine replacement therapy products such as patches and gum.

Some of the highest success rates of those trying to quit smoking are among people using an e-cigarette to kick their addiction alongside local Stop Smoking services, with up to 68 % successfully quitting in 2020 -2021.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

“This country continues to be a global leader on healthcare, whether it’s our COVID-19 vaccine rollout saving lives or our innovative public health measures reducing people’s risk of serious illness.

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.”

Conclusion

This is a small step for the UK but a huge step for the globe. The UK keeps on praising the use of e-cigarettes in recent years, and even introduced it to hospitals. Now e-cigarettes are recommended to smokers to help them quit, there is no doubt that it is an important step to impact the whole e-cigarette regulatory environment.