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MPs to investigate safety of e-cigarettes

MPs are launching an investigation into the safety of e-cigarettes and if they could ‘re-normalise’ smoking for young smokers.

The House of Commons science and technology committee is calling for evidence into the devices, which are used by nearly three million people in the UK.

The committee will look at the health impacts on their devices, their effect on NHS funds and regulation.

Committee chair Norman Lamb said: ‘There are still significant gaps in the research guiding their regulation and sale. They are seen by some as valuable tools that will reduce the number of people smoking “conventional” cigarettes, and seen by others as “re-normalising” smoking for the younger generation.

‘We want to understand where the gaps are in the evidence base, the impact of the regulations, and the implications of this growing industry on NHS costs and the UK’s public finances.’

The move follows an announcement by NICE earlier this month that it backs including e-cigarette use in smoking cessation guidance.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Many patients with learning difficulties or severe psychosis are "hooked on fags". I would make three points:

    1. It is (in my experience) virtually impossible to wean most of these patients off nicotine - even though the QOF demanded that we pretended to try.

    2. E-cigs are not an appreciable fire risk (all experienced GPs will have seen examples of this group of patients being involved in a major fire related to conventional cigarette use).

    3. E-cigs are typically far cheaper. A "packet a day" habit of tobacco based fags costs more than £50 a week - which is perhaps the majority of the "after housing income" for a patient with chronic schizophrenia living in sheltered accommodation.

    I have had a little success in persuading individuals with severe mental illness to use e-cigs and noted that their diet and general welling being has improved. I hope that NICE recognises this relatively small group for whom e-cigs are potentially very valuable.

    I'm not sure if anyone has done research in this area of potential harm reduction - perhaps someone should?

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) I second this ,as you guys probably had read what I wrote here about e-cigarette.
    Yes , everything has advantages and disadvantages. But as Orwell said , the choice of human is so often not between good and evil but between two evils instead(Sorry , my philosophical crap).
    (2)On a pharmacological point , nicotine patches are long acting providing background release but do not kill off craven. Therefore , I always ask patients to use short acting preparation like nicotine gum , inhalator etc on top of the patches . Hence , e-cigarette can be one of these choices.
    (3)Don’t ask me to give you statistical figures about the usefulness of e-cigarettes as I am only an ordinary grass-root GP , not an academic. But Richard Feynman also once said ‘You can know more than you can ever prove.’

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Why does anyone need to smoke anything? Homo sapien has been on earth for about 200,000 years, became civilised about 6000 years ago and only found the strange need to smoke a leaf about 600 years ago.

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