E-cigarettes could be available in UK to tackle smoking rates
E-cigarettes could soon be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products, reports BBC.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is inviting manufacturers to submit goods for approval to be prescribed.
It could mean England becomes the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes as a medical product.
E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
They do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid, that is heated up to be inhaled, contains some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels
This aerosol is commonly referred to as vapour and so the use of an e-cigarette is described as vaping.
A medically licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks than those required for them to be sold commercially.
E-cigarettes are the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit, with more than one-in-four smokers relying on them – more than those who use nicotine-replacement therapy products such as patches or gum.