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MPs call for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription
19 August 2018, 11:28 | Melissa Porter
DANGER E-cigarettes are generally seen as less harmful than normal cigarettes
Specifically, the reportrecommended that the NHS set a policy allowing mental health facilities to allow e-cigarettes and noted that there is evidence they are an effective tool in getting people to stop smoking tobacco.
"The committee believes that the risk for smokers of continuing to use conventional cigarettes is greater than the uncertainty over the long-term use of e-cigarettes", the report concludes.
"Medically licensed e-cigarettes would make it easier for doctors to discuss and recommend them as a stop smoking tool to aid those quitting smoking".
A row erupted last night over a hugely controversial call by MPs to relax rules surrounding e-cigarettes.
Simon Capewell, professor in public health and policy at Liverpool University said: 'The committee has concentrated exclusively on "experts" who are e-cig champions.
The report follows a statement by Public Health England earlier this year in which health officials called for more tolerance for e-cigarette users and for hospitals to provide patients with vaping lounges. They accused the MPs of largely taking evidence from researchers who had published studies positive to e-cigarettes and of ignoring evidence highlighting health risks.
- The government, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the e-cigarette industry should review how approval systems for stop smoking therapies could be streamlined should e-cigarette manufacturers put forward a product for medical licensing.
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. "If people switch from smoking to vaping they will be doing their health a favour".
The small experimental study, led by Prof David Thickett, at the University of Birmingham, found it can damage the lungs although further research is needed to better understand the long-term health impact.
The STC's report also said an end to the ban on "snus", an oral tobacco product which is illegal in the United Kingdom under European Union regulations, should be considered after Brexit.
The government has been urged to make e-cigarettes available on the NHS after a probe by MPs found numerous health concerns around "vaping" are wrong.
Meanwhile, NHS England's "default" policy should be that e-cigarettes are permitted on mental health units, to address the "stubbornly high" levels of smoking among people with mental health conditions, the report said. The article lists comments from people who are skeptical of e-cigarettes.
'This is about comparing e-cigarettes to normal cigarettes, not fresh air.
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