29 January 2022,   00:07
England could become the first country to prescribe e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes could be prescribed by England’s National Health Service under plans to cut smoking rates in the country, writes edition.cnn.com.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated guidance which could allow e-cigarette products to be prescribed for those who want to stop smoking, the UK government said in a statement on Friday.

Manufacturers of e-cigarette products can now approach the MHRA with their products, which will go through the same regulatory approval process as other medicines available on the country’s NHS.

If products are approved, it would mean England would be the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product, the government said.

Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair in Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said the news was “excellent”.

“While there is good evidence that e-cigarettes available as consumer products can help smokers to quit, we also know that up to one in three smokers in the UK has not tried these devices”, - she told the Science Media Centre. - “Smokers have concerns about safety and misperceptions about the relative risks of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco”.

Bauld said that the cost of these devices acts as a barrier for some.