Massive Boost for E-cigarettes in the UK
Electronic cigarettes and vaping in the UK have been delivered a massive boost with the news that the Government is encouraging manufacturers to apply for medical licensing. This means e-cig starter kits could be made available by prescription from doctors and reinforces that vaping works as a smoking cessation tool.
Manufacturers, businesses, business organisations, and vaping advocates delighted in the news this week that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had released updated guidance for licensing electronic cigarettes and other inhaled nicotine-containing products as medicines.
This doesn’t mean that vape products will only be able to be obtained by prescription, it will add another route for smokers to explore in order to escape from the grip of tobacco.
Current figures from England show that there are still 6.1 million smokers and were 64,000 smoking-related deaths in 2019.
Sajid Javid MP, Health and Social Care Secretary, announced that the MHRA has released details of a simplified process that will work to overcome procedural problems that have prevented companies from bothering to attempt to have products registered in the past.
Javid hopes that this means the UK will become the first country in the world to be able to prescribe vapes to smoking patients.
“This country continues to be a global leader on healthcare,” Sajid Javid said. “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.”
He continued: “Reducing health disparities – including in smoking rates – and keeping people in better health for longer is good for the individual, families, society, the economy and NHS.”
The news was welcomed by Matthew Moden and Liam Humberstone, board members of the Independent British Vape Trade Association.
Matthew Moden said: “This will be one more step towards the validation of our products as a means to stop people smoking combustible tobacco. It is good news especially for the vaping firms in East Lancashire.
“We used to be pariahs, but this is a sign of the growing recognition of e-cigarettes value in stopping people from smoking combustible tobacco. The question is whether other pharmaceutical and tobacco firms will try and move into the market for prescription e-cigarettes.”
Liam Humberstone added: “It is positive news that the government is again thinking of recognising the health benefits of e-cigarettes in helping people to stop smoking. But the path to putting them on prescription is longer and more complex than people think. The issue is whether independent vaping firms would be able finance that work.”
Others joined in the praise, describing the move as a “huge leap forward” in giving people confidence in e-cigs, a disruptive technology that has helped over 2.5 million smokers quit nicotine use altogether and currently is working to keep almost 4 million vapers from going back to tobacco.