In a controversial move, the UK is set to be the first country in the world to prescribe medicinally licensed e-cigarettes on the NHS to curb the rates of smoking across the country. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced on Thursday that they would start accepting the applications from the vape manufacturers, and will assess the safety and effectiveness of the products to approve them later. The move supports the British government’s ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030, as well as to slash the stark health disparities in smoking rates, 10 Downing Street said in a release. E-cigarettes prescription by the UK’s health agency NHS will help Britons to stop smoking tobacco products.
UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid on October 28 hailed the latest step forward in the licensing process for the vape manufacturers to deter the smokers from tobacco that has been scientifically proven to be detrimental for health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will also be publishing updated guidance for the use of medicinally licensed vaping products for those that want to quit smoking.
E-cigarette product to be decided by NHS to encourage smokers to quit smoking
After a vape product receives the MHRA approval, it could then be decided on a case by case basis which e-cigarette product would be more suitable for the NHS patients to help them quit smoking forever. “It remains the case that non-smokers and children are strongly advised against using e-cigarettes,” the UK government, although warned, stresses that the e-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not 100% risk-free. However, citing the expert reviews from both UK and the US, the British government emphasised that regulated e-cigarettes “are less harmful than smoking.” According to NHS, smoking across the UK remains the leading preventable cause of premature death, and despite that the smoking rates are at record low levels, there are still an estimated 6.1 million smokers in the UK.
Meanwhile, UK health 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.” He furthermore stressed, “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.”