England: soon the electronic cigarette on medical prescription?

the essential England could be the first country to prescribe the electronic cigarette as a medical device.

“Dangerous experiment” or tool to reduce inequalities in health, the prospect of medically prescribing electronic cigarettes in England for smokers who want to quit smoking is far from unanimous.

At the end of October, the UK government changed the approval process by the UK health products regulator, MHRA, which could make England the first country to prescribe these characteristic crackling devices as a medical device.

Manufacturers could already “in theory” ask for such a classification, underlines Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, “but that did not happen.” In question, the complexity and the cost of the procedure, which led the Ministry of Health to make changes to “actively encourage” industrialists, explains the academic to AFP.

While admitting that electronic cigarettes “contain nicotine and are not without risk”, the Department of Health, based on British and American studies, stresses that they are less harmful than tobacco.

This is the leading cause of preventable premature death, with nearly 64 000 deaths in England in 2019. And while the number of smokers is at its lowest in the UK, England still has 6.1 million.

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