UK vape shops and e-liquid producers have been handed a resounding show of support as the Government announces that vape products may soon be available on prescription. The move does not mean that regular purchasing will stop, or product ranges reduced, just that the NHS will be able to target hard to reach smokers and offer them direct support.
Switching from smoking to using UK E-liquids has worked for over 4 million smokers, with an estimated 2.5 million now having given up all use of nicotine. The last decade has seen this disruptive technology accelerate quitting to unprecedented levels and is widely accepted as having been a resounding success.
The Department of Health and Social Care and The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities say: “E-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in supporting those trying to quit.”
More needs to be done. In England alone, there are an estimated 6.1 million smokers, many of these in marginal groups who either can’t access support or are reluctant to for various reasons. Plus, over 63,000 people died from the smoking-related disease in 2019 – again, just in England.
This week, Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced that the medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has published updated guidance to manufacturers on how they can gain authorisation for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products.
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.”
What difference would a medicinally licensed e-cigarette make?
John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association remarked: “There is a good case for NHS and other healthcare professionals to take a lead in helping their patients to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and we have repeatedly called on the Government to make access to vaping much more accessible through smoking cessation services.”
By allowing doctors to prescribe a starter kit to patients means they could be helping someone to switch who otherwise might not have considered stopping smoking.
What benefit is this to UK vape shops and e-cig users?
Just talking about prescribing e-cigarettes to smokers reaffirms the strong and supportive stance the UK Government has taken. It sends a clear message to the public (and around the world) that we believe the evidence is very firmly weighted in favour of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool.
As Dunne says: “It should come as no surprise that the Department for Health has made this announcement today as the evidence and arguments for using vaping as a way of helping smokers to quit is nothing short of overwhelming.”
Confidence in regular and premium vape liquid should be sky high now and encourage family members to be supportive of quitting smoking attempts.