In response to an announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care that “e-cigarettes could soon be prescribed on the NHS in a world first”, John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said:
“The government deserves huge praise for taking this bold decision to look more closely at the use of vaping when it comes to smoking cessation and for taking an evidence-based, science-led approach rather than the nonsensical anti-vaping, anti-harm reduction stance of some countries.
“This announcement by the Department for Health is just the latest in a long line of breakthroughs for those of us who for years have advocated vaping as the best and most effective method for people looking to quit smoking.
“For instance, this year the NHS has been quietly trialing giving e-cigarettes to smokers attending A&E departments in some UK hospitals, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has just concluded a consultation on new draft guidance for healthcare workers that places vaping on a par with other nicotine replacement therapies, so there is clearly growing support within clinical settings for vaping’s effectiveness to help people to quit smoking safely and for good.
“Recently the Royal College of Physicians released a major report calling for the UK government to promote electronic cigarettes via a mass media campaign.
“What’s more, Public Health England has declared that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking and Cancer Research UK has also backed e-cigarettes as one of the best methods to get smokers to quit combustible tobacco.
“So, with this in mind, 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.
“There is a good case too 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.
“However, it is not simply a case of giving vaping products to smokers and sending them off, which is why we have just launched a campaign to engage with every NHS trust in the UK to offer help and guidance on how vaping can be used in the best way possible to help people in their quit journeys.”
Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside and Vice-Chair of the APPG for Vaping, said: “The announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS is warmly welcomed.
“It demonstrates a huge vote of confidence in the role vaping can play to significantly reduce health inequalities attributed to smoking.
“There is still much more to be done to achieve a smokefree society, but today is a good day for public health. I eagerly await the publication of the new Tobacco Control Plan for further positive measures.”