In a month when electronic cigarettes have barely been out of UK health news, it has emerged that the small vaping devices may be available on prescription from the NHS within 9 months. Doctors may be able to give out e cigs out for free to patients who are attempting to quit smoking.
Electronic cigarettes do not contain any of the 4,000+ harmful chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke and have widely been credited with being a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. With this in mind, the NHS have been tentatively planning to offer the devices to ‘at risk’ patients. The NHS currently offers a number of alternative cessation products such as NRT patches and gum. Experts have suggested that millions of lives could be saved by the NHS with this move.
The devices are to be subjected to extensive trials and tests to ensure that they are safe for use and will provide an effective alternative to cigarettes. As electronic cigarettes are currently sold as consumer products, they are not subjected to as many tests and trials as medicinal products. The quality of e cigs currently on the market may not be suitable to be sold as medicinal products and will not be available on the NHS. However, a number of the more respected and higher esteemed electronic cigarette manufacturers are producing products that have undergone strict testing to ensure their safety and quality.
The MHRA have announced this month that they plan to regulate electronic cigarettes as medicinal products by the year 2016. This move will mean that all electronic cigarette products on the market will be subjected to costly and time-consuming tests and trials before these regulations come into effect. These changes could dramatically alter the entire electronic cigarette market as all products will have to be brought in line with the standards set by the MHRA.
It is unclear what conditions and afflictions will be applicable for this prescription scheme. There are a myriad of different ailments that are derived from the act of smoking and the injurious contents of tobacco found in cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Big killers such as lung cancer and emphysema are heavily linked with smoking and a legitimate alternative may be beneficial to the sufferers and heavy smokers.
Many smokers are addicted to the nicotine that is found in tobacco rather than the tobacco itself. The e liquids used in electronic cigarettes contain nicotine sourced from tobacco to attend to this addiction whilst removing many of the harmful aspect of the tobacco.
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