Government must stop overlooking '95% less harmful' e-cigarettes, say MPs

Ebony Scott
August 19, 2018

He goes on to say that e-cigarettes could be a tool used by the NHS to help those looking to stop smoking.

The BP committee said the NHS has overlooked the benefits of e-cigarettes and suggested doctors write prescriptions to the nicotine-delivery system to help people quit smoking.

This could include prescribing medically licensed e-cigarettes to assist smoking cessation efforts.

It suggested that they no longer be treated in the same way.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the report but said it had some concerns over rule changes on advertising, which could mean tobacco companies being allowed to market their e-cigarettes in packs of cigarettes.

One professor said loosening regulation could be hard despite the committee finding and acknowledges there is still plenty of resistance to e-cigarettes in the public.

However, Public Health England claimed recently that e-cigarettes are "95 per cent safer" than conventional smoking.

But is enough known about the long-term health impact and the science? They said basically that it's unfair e-cigarettes and cigarettes are classified as the same.

Norman Lamb, the STC's chairman, said that current policy and regulations do not "sufficiently reflect" the lesser harm posed by e-cigarettes than their conventional alternatives.

But the report's recommendations have come under fire by some public health experts, with one saying it relies on accounts from "e-cig champions". However, more research is needed as a result of early studies that indicated e-cigarettes have a negative effect on lung cells in the lab, the article says.

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- The limit on the strength of refills should be reviewed as heavy smokers may be put off persisting with them-and the restriction on tank size does not appear to be founded on scientific evidence and should therefore urgently be reviewed.

E-cigarettes, which were first manufactured in 2003, have become increasingly popular in the UK.

She added: "The committee's recommendations set out a useful road map for the Government to continue its progressive regulatory approach to the category which will help more smokers, who would otherwise not quit, make the switch from traditional tobacco products".

European Parliament passed regulations on e-cigarettes in 2014 requiring quality controls for vapes and e-liquids.

For example, it said it was "unacceptable" that a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England had a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises, when there was a "negligible health risk" from second hand e-cigarette vapour.

'E-cigs in teens are a gateway to subsequent smoking lit cigarettes and e-cig vapour contains a large number of toxins which in time will obviously harm users, and bystanders'.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: "E-cigarettes are not without harm but are way safer than the harms of tobacco".

While there is evidence of children experimenting with e-cigarettes, "regular use in under 18s is really quite low", Hazel pointed out.

'The UK leads the world in harm reduction from tobacco and there is no evidence that they are acting as a gateway into smoking for young people'.

Other reports by GizPress

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