Sunday, 21 October, 2018


E-cigarettes 'could be NHS' key weapon against smoking'

E-cigarettes 'could be NHS' key weapon against smoking' E-cigarettes 'could be NHS' key weapon against smoking'
Patty Aguilar | 19 August, 2018, 23:27

The government has said it will "carefully consider" the evidence and recommendations made by the by the committee.

E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes and should not be regulated in the same way, according to a report by MPs. Smoking remains a leading cause of death in the UK.

Mr Lamb said medically licensed e-cigarettes "would make it easier for doctors to discuss and recommend them as a stop-smoking tool to aid those quitting smoking".

It wants a review on the current ban on smoking e-cigarettes in public places and said the government should annually reconsider the evidence about the health effects of e-cigarettes and include heat-to-burn products as part of the review.

The committee acknowledged the long-term effects of e-cigarettes were still unknown but said they are far less harmful than normal cigarettes. "If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS stop-smoking arsenal".

The World Health Organisation is among bodies to call for stiff regulation of e-cigarettes and bans on their indoor use.

The committee said the restrictions were "extraordinary" given those suffering from mental health issues smoke "significantly more" than the rest of the population and are nearly 2.5 times more likely to take up the habit.

"Those with mental ill health are being badly let down and NHS England appear to have failed to give this any priority".

"NHS England's default policy should be that e-cigarettes should be permitted in mental health units".

The committee also recommended that the government and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency should, with the e-cigarette industry, look at how the approval systems for stop smoking therapies could be "streamlined" should manufacturers put forward a product for medical licensing.

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.

The report's release comes days after scientists warned that the perception that e-cigarettes are safe should be treated with caution. People with mental health conditions are nearly 2.5 times more likely to smoke compared to the general population.

They said ministers should conduct an urgent review to make it easier to get the devices on prescription.

Though the legal status of e-cigarettes in pending in most countries, in 2015, around two thirds of major nations had regulated e-cigarettes in some way. Meanwhile, 7.4 million people (15.1 percent of people aged 18 years and above) are classified as current smokers, according 2017 data from the Office for National Statistics.

"The UK leads the world in harm reduction from tobacco and there is no evidence that they are acting as a gateway into smoking for young people".

The report follows a statement by Public Health England earlier this year in which health officials called for more tolerance for e-cigarette users and for hospitals to provide patients with vaping lounges.

MPs want to review a ban preventing such a move - as it would now be considered as tobacco advertising.

E-cigarettes are not covered by the smoking legislation which, since July 2007 in England, has banned the use of cigarettes in all enclosed public and work places.

European Parliament passed regulations on e-cigarettes in 2014 requiring quality controls for vapes and e-liquids.

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