Health Officials Want the NHS to Prescribe e-Cigs to Help Prevent Smoking Deaths

By Tom Pritchard on at

Government health officials have announced that they want e-cigarettes to be made available on the NHS after a recent review concluded that the devices "removed all the risks" smoking poses to a person's health.

According to Public Health England, large numbers of the general public believe that vaping has many of the same risks associated with regular cigarettes, but according to new research this isn't the case. Now PHE wants more smokers to take up using the devices to try and reduce tobacco-related death and disease.

PHE also claims that there is no evidence to support claims that e-cigarettes influence children and non-smokers to take up the habit, and the 2.6 million people using them in the UK are doing so in order to stop smoking tobacco.

e-Cigarettes have proven to be fairly divisive in the past, since researchers and health officials can't quite agree on how safe they are. Professor Peter Hajek, an independent author of the new review, told a briefing in London that nicotine on its own is much less poisonous than previously believed. He also added that the contaminants and by-products that have people concerned about e-cigs are only found in very low levels and already exist in the air we breathe.

You can't really argue if those claims are true, but will they stand up to long-term scrutiny? We don't really know for sure, but if this is the case then vaping could easily be a great way to help smokers free themselves of their health-threatening habit.

Smoking is still apparently the largest cause of preventable deaths in England, with 800,000 deaths every year. As it stands GPs and stop smoking services aren't able to recommend use of e-cigarettes because they haven't been approved for medicinal use, but it's hoped that regulatory bodies will approve their use very soon. [Public Health England via iTV News]