A leading medical body believes that e-cigarettes should be offered to those who are looking for a way to quit smoking.
That idea comes from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, as they believe that they can help with the quitting process, as well as being a “much safer” alternative.
The group issued a 200-page report that outlined how, with the proper checks and measures in place, vaping could be beneficial to millions of people.
They are not of the belief that e-cigs are a gateway to cigarette smoking.
The problem here is that electronic cigarettes are not available through the NHS, and need to be purchased by anyone looking to use them as method of kicking the smoking habit.
Doctors in the UK can prescribe e-cigs that have been licensed as a “quit smoking aid,” but that requires meeting some strict regulations.
It may be because of the hoops that have to be jumped through that most vape manufacturers market their devices as nicotine delivery devices that come without the harsh chemicals found in cigarettes.
E-cigarettes first hit the UK market back in 2007, and sales figures have risen with each passing year.
They are now more popular than other smoking cessation devices such as nicotine gum and patches.
It’s estimated that about 1 in 20 people in England use e-cigarettes, and the majority of them are people who are either ex-smokers or are in the process of quitting.
Despite their popularity, they are still pretty divisive, and there was actually a move on in Wales to have them banned from being used in public places.
It is the belief of the Royal College of Physicians that with a combination of medical help and e-cigarettes, smokers will have a better chance of butting out permanently.
The atomizer is e-cigarettes is usually either manually turned on, or activated by inhalation. A heating coil inside the atomizer heats up the liquid nicotine inside.
What ends up being inhaled is water vapor, and some e-cigs have an LED light on the tip to give the appearance of being lit cigarettes.
A number of different chemical concentrations are found in different brands.
Public Health England agrees that when it comes to long-term health hazards, e-cigs are a minimum of 95% safer than traditional cigarettes.
That said, electronic cigarettes are not totally free from risk.
Professor Simon Capewell, of the Faculty of Public Health, tells of the unknown factors with e-cigs. Since the devices are still relatively new, which is why there is no hard and fast data on their long-term health effects.
Capewell believes that anyone interested in quitting cigarettes for good should talk to their doctor about the excellent services made available by the NHS.
Professor John Burton, who was involved with the creation of the aforementioned report, is of the opinion that e-cigs are a healthy alternative to cigarettes, and that they should be “encouraged and endorsed.”
He does not believe that the e-cigs will create a nicotine epidemic, and is encouraged by their lack of downside.
Public Health England are endorsing the use of e-cigarettes alongside the quit-smoking services currently offered by the NHS.
About one-third of British smokers try to quit each year, but less than 20% are actually able to succeed.
May will see the introduction of new EU laws regarding the quality and safety of e-cis and their refills. Every manufacturer is going to have to let consumers know the purity of the products they are purchasing.
Dr Tim Ballard, of the Royal College of GP’s, said that they would be looking to see whether or not adding e-cigarettes to current smoking cessation programs would be a good use of the very limited funds available in the NHS.
He is not just talking about the financial aspect of this move, but also the time required to assessing and monitoring patients over an extended period of time.
Ballard believes that NICE should lead the way in helping decide whether or not prescription electronic cigarettes are indeed a viable option.
The Department of Health still believes that the best thing smokers can do for their health is quit entirely.
A spokesperson for the DOH said that they are well aware of the numbers of people making the switch from traditional smokes to e-cigs.
They agree that this is a healthier alternative, but they also want to see regulations in place that would guarantee that every e-cig on the market was of the highest quality possible.