Published: Sun, August 19, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

MPs call for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription

MPs call for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription

The report also found that second-hand vapour wasn't as unsafe as previously thought, and that e-cigarettes aren't a gateway to smoking.

E-cigarettes or "vapes" still contain nicotine but they don't burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide, which experts say are two of the most damaging elements in tobacco smoke.

Public Health England estimates that 2.8 million people in the United Kingdom smoke e-cigarettes.

Research led by the University of Birmingham found the vapourised e-liquid fluid in e-cigarettes has a similar effect on the lungs and body that is seen in regular cigarette smokers and patients with chronic lung disease.

"The Government should carefully consider the report's recommendations, but any changes to current e-cigarette regulations should be aimed at helping smokers to quit whilst preventing young people from starting to use e-cigarettes".

In addition, the government should reconsider how e-cigarettes are used in public places and as a therapy by the NHS.

"Concerns that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to conventional smoking, including for young non-smokers, have not materialised", said committee chairman Norman Lamb.

In a report, it is claimed that e-cigarettes are overlooked as an aid to stop smoking and should be made available on the NHS.

E-cigarettes, which were first manufactured in 2003, have become increasingly popular in the UK. Juul said it chose Britain as its third market - after the US and Israel - partly because of the country's supportive approach to vaping.

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E-cigarettes are not covered by the smoking legislation which bans the use of cigarettes in all enclosed public and work places.

The government says it will consider the committee's recommendations.

- The limit on the strength of refills should be reviewed as heavy smokers may be put off persisting with them-and the restriction on tank size does not appear to be founded on scientific evidence and should therefore urgently be reviewed. There is no public health rationale for doing so.

MPs want rules around e-cigarettes to be loosened to help smokers quit.

Meanwhile, NHS England's "default" policy should be that e-cigarettes are permitted on mental health units, to address the "stubbornly high" levels of smoking among people with mental health conditions, the report said.

George Butterworth, from Cancer Research UK, said: "The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco".

- The government should review the evidence supporting the current ban as part of a wider move towards a more risk aware regulatory framework for tobacco and nicotine products.

British scientists have discovered that Smoking electronic cigarette kills the vital cells of the immune system in the lungs and increases the risk of inflammation. E-cigarettes were first introduced to the United Kingdom market in 2007.

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