By Natalie Williams • 26 November 2021 • 18:14
NHS to fund e-cigarettes
Today, November 26, the British government has announced that the NHS is to fund e-cigarettes to patients who wish to stop smoking in England and want to use the public health services to assist them.
According to the Ministry of Health, “the country may well become the first in the world to prescribe electronic cigarettes as a medical device”.
This movement means that E-cigarette manufacturers are now permitted to submit their products to the British Health Products Agency, called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). By being submitted to the MHRA, the e-cigs “will follow the same approval process as prescribed medicines”, the British Department of Health said in a statement.
If approved, “doctors could decide on a case-by-case basis which patient will be allowed to have the NHS to fund e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking”, according to the statement.
“The evidence is clear that e-cigarettes are less harmful to health than smoking tobacco and that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking for good,” Dr. June Raid, chief executive of the MHRA said.
“The updated guidance on licensing requirements we have published today is a strong first step towards availability of safe and effective licensed e-cigarette products.”
While e-cigarettes “contain nicotine and are not without risk,” Raid said, the UK government stresses that they are less harmful than tobacco, citing studies carried out in Britain and the US.
If the NHS were to fund e-cigarettes as an aid to give up smoking. The medically approved apparatus would have to undergo “even more rigorous” safety tests, the department said.
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