It’s official: non-regulated nicotine products such as the electronic cigarette save lives.
Or to be specific, it can extend smokers’ lives by 3.59 years.
The estimate is based on the assessed value of users making a successful quit attempt using the electronic cigarette.
The government assumes that the number of people quitting will be the same as for NRT products, i.e. around 5%.
The MHRA document makes no specific statement that electronic cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes.
However, it’s difficult to believe that the MHRA would consider licencing a product which they would believe to be as harmful as regular cigarettes.
Furthermore, the document links the aim of tobacco harm reduction to the need to have a licensed and regulated electronic cigarette on the market. Specifically, that nicotine products should have:
“an extension of use to include both substitution and partial substitution of smoking with NRT of smoking with NRT in those not currently intending to make a successful quit attempt.” (Consultation Letter MLX p.20.)
Translation: If you can’t or don’t want to quit nicotine, you should use an electronic cigarette (or something similar)!
This is a clear admission that electronic cigarettes are safer than cigarettes.
The same document also believes that licensing the products would save money for the NHS.
There will be additional benefit to the NHS as smoking reduction and quitting will see a reduction in hospital admissions for smoking related illness. This will see a release of cash spent on these treatments and a reallocation of resource to other treatments that will have further health benefits. (Consultation Letter MLX p.28.)
i.e. E Cigarettes = more people quitting/cutting down = less money spent on smoking diseases
(The savings are nonsensical, unfortunately, because they don’t take into account cigarette taxes paid and the gainings from pensioners dying early.)
The document also suggests there would be an additional health benefit of reduced passive smoking if the electronic cigarette were legalised.
If additional people use smoke-free licensed NRT products there is more chance of a successful quit attempt and this will reduce those exposed to smoke; passive smokers. This will bring about additional benefits to the NHS and using the Value of Preventing a Casualty, we can estimate an additional benefit in avoiding a life lost from passive smoking at approximately £1,500,000. (Consultation Letter MLX p.28.)
i.e. Electronic Cigarettes = More People Quitting = Less People Dying of Passive Smoking
(Incidentally we at the Ashtray blog are not convinced about the dangers of passive smoking.)
There are a number of worries people have. We are particularly concerned with one and two below.
1. Availability will become limited – possibly only available in pharmacies.
2. Making something that smokers enjoy a medicine. If smokers are allowed to use the vastly more dangerous cigarettes why should the nanny state tell them they are not allowed to use it recreationally?
3. That this represents a sneaky attempt to pass control of the e-cigarette market to pharmeceutical companies. (UK Moves To Give Electronic Cigarettes to Pharmaceutical Industry)
4. Choice will become limited. (Is Britain about to ban the e-cigarette? on Smokles.)
5. That electronic cigarettes will be banned. (E Cigarettes could be taken off the market on Velvet Glove Iron Fist – points out that Snus, the safest form of chewing tobacco, is illegal in the UK despite huge evidence that it has cut cancer rates in Sweden.)
Let us know if you have any more concerns!
And let the government know what you think too – click here to leave your feedback on the MHRA website.
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