09 Jan E-cigarettes Win First Approval as a Medicine in UK
For the first time, e-cigarettes have been granted a license by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in UK. The approval has opened the doors for vaping e-cigarettes to be prescribed as a “medicine” by the NHS, which means that it can now be prescribed on the NHS for patients trying to give up smoking.
“We want to ensure licensed nicotine-containing products – including e-cigarettes – which make medicinal claims are available and meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms from smoking,” the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.
Many experts think e-cigarettes, which heat nicotine-laced liquid into an inhalable vapour, are a lower-risk alternative to smoking, but since they are relatively new products, there is little long-term evidence on their safety.
Public Health England reported a year ago that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking tobacco. Health advocacy groups like the American Heart Association have said that vaping is a healthier alternative – at least compared to the effects of traditional cigarettes.
The MHRA said it would “continue to encourage companies to voluntarily submit medicines license applications for e-cigarettes and other nicotine containing products as medicines” and hoped to see more e-cigarettes and next generation nicotine delivery products submit applications in future.