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E-Cigarettes could be Available via the NHS in Britain

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 09:34 AM EST

E-cigarettes could become available through Britain's National Health Service (NHS) very soon due to a new law.

According to new legislation, which was passed by UK regulators, the Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), e-Voke can be marketed as a helping aid for smokers who want to quit, which means that doctors can potentially prescribe the e-cigarette to patients who have had trouble quitting. E-Voke is manufactured by British American Tobacco.

Although Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are relatively less harmful than smoking, many experts in the UK have continued to point out the fact that since e-cigarettes are new and unregulated, the exact health effects from vaping, the term used to describe using an e-cigarette, are still undetermined at the moment.

The British Medical Association, for example, has stated that experts still do not know the short- and long-term health risks involved with vaping different kinds of e-cigarettes. The Royal College of GPs (general practitioners) added that due to the uncertainty behind what vaping can potentially do to the body, it believes that doctors will be cautious when and if they decide to prescribe e-Voke as an aid for smokers.

"Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation program, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit," Dr. Tim Ballard of the Royall College, said reported by BBC News. "At the moment there isn't the evidence and the guidance hasn't been written to help GPs make those decisions."

Despite the lack of information regarding the effects of e-cigarettes, experts noted that there is evidence that e-cigarettes combined with a program can help people successfully quit smoking.

"Public Health England wants to see a choice of safe and effective replacements for smoking that smokers themselves want to use," professor Kevin Fenton, the National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said.

Other health officials and experts are reminding the public that although e-cigarettes could help with smoking cessation, people who do not smoke should not start vaping.

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