Public Health England has called for E-Cigarettes to be available on prescription after an independent review found that at least 20,000 people a year were quitting smoking cigarettes with the help of the e-product.
They are proving to be successful in helping people to give up smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are also 95% less harmful than cigarettes. The risk to bystanders is also described as negligible.
The cumulative impact of banning smoking in public places along with plain packaging, banning on advertising and high taxes has led to a sharp fall in people newly taking up smoking. There is evidence to suggest that less people are quitting smoking too meaning traditional smoking cessation programmes are less effective in encouraging smokers to quit.
With Public Health budgets on a sharp decline, some local authorities are questioning the value of providing smoking cessation services and a few have stopped providing this completely.
There are concerns that wider promotion of e-cigarettes could lead to it being a gateway tobacco product. However, initial evidence shows that this is not the case. Other concerns are that imported and black market products may creep into the market.
The call from Public Health England marks an official change in narrative. It comes following a Review led by Professor Ann McNeill (King’s College London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University of London).
The Government is yet to respond to the report.