E-cigarettes win approval as 'a medicine’ in U.K.

Posted Jan 6, 2016 by Tim Sandle
E-cigarettes, which remain controversial, have been granted "medicinal" status in the U.K. This means some medical doctors could soon be prescribing the nicotine infused devices to patients.
Model demonstrating an electronic cigarette
Model demonstrating an electronic cigarette
Michael Dorausch (CC BY-SA 2.0)
E-cigarettes are a controversial product. Some support the appearance of the vaping devices as a means to draw people away from traditional cigarettes and the various health associated diseases (such as lung cancer) associated with tobacco products. Others, like the World Health Organization and researchers at the University of California, are concerned about the chemicals in e-cigarettes and the unknown, potential adverse effects on the lungs that regularly inhaling using the devices might cause. Moreover, health promotion campaigners are concerned that many people, particularly teenagers, are taking up puffing on e-cigarettes even though they have never smoked traditional tobacco products. Concern is raised here about the types of flavors, like bubble-gum, which some say are designed to appeal to young people.
The English health service (although not all of the U.K.) has come down in favor of electronic cigarettes as a means to wean people off traditional tobacco products, arguing a greater health effect is achieved.
This follows a decision by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the U.K. drug regulator, to grant a licence to British American Tobacco for its e-Voke device. This will allow the device to be marketed as a smoking cessation aid.
According to The Daily Telegraph, a representative of British American Tobacco stated: "Nicovations Limited, part of British American Tobacco's Next Generation Products division, has been granted a licence by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for its rechargeable electronic cigarette, e-Voke.”
The news comes after Public Health England released a report showing there are more than 1 million people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the U.K., and the overwhelming majority of these cases stem from tobacco smoking.
Those affected by COPD experience difficulties breathing. This is due to a narrowing of the airways and destruction of lung tissue. Symptoms include breathlessness, a persistent cough and regular chest infections.