NHS approves an e-cigarette for use in smoking cessation

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In another note of progress in the war against tobacco-related disease, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service announced yesterday it has approved an e-cigarette to help people quit smoking.

This product, called Evoke, can now be dispensed by NHS physicians and clinics to help people quit smoking or cut down the amount of cigarettes smoked. The NHS has been promoting use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation for more than a year, but use of an explicitly NHS-approved medication should enhance those efforts further.

Comparing the British approach to tobacco-control programming in the United States leads to some interesting conclusions. The Food and Drug Administration has formulated a prohibitively expensive approach to monitoring the safety of e-cigarettes. Within two years, no e-cigarettes will be permitted to be sold on the market unless they meet exacting FDA standards.

While the NHS is working to find solutions to on how to improve quality of care, the FDA is more concerned about unanticipated consequences, even though the science available to inform the two countries’ respective approaches is the same.

Fortunately, consumers in the United States can, for now, still purchase e-cigarettes. However, if action is not taken to amend the FDA’s so-called “deeming date” (the rules currently apply to any product brought to market since early 2007), these options may soon disappear.

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  • Darren Stone

    So the only one they went for was British American tobaccos one? A device that most users upgrade from after about a month as it’s naff. Well done nhs in making sure tobacco companies still get their income

    • John Chamley

      It is the only one with an MA from the MHRA, which is a pre-requisite for a product to be on the NHS list. For the NHS, the MA is a cover-my-ass against any potential litigation and they can now recommend it to clients.
      The MA was granted to an inhaler type device, then a change of design was submitted that was considered similar enough for the MHRA, even though that change was to an electronic cigarette!!! Over four years of research and development and they were still unable to get the ecig version approved through the normal channels, rumoured to be an issue with dosage consistency.
      The development began in 2008 with the creation of the eliquid required to fuel a medical device. ECOpure went on sale in April 2009 and would form the basis of the medicine used in the device. Work on the device began in November 2009, so it took a long time to even produce something that came anywhere near to approval; every component and material used had to undergo endless testing for suitably.
      But, they got their MA one way or another and they will make lots of money from it because there are still lots of smokers who will go down that route whether we laugh or not.

  • Dragonmum

    So how would the NHS justify their selection (if this is indeed the case)? Considering that there are hundreds, if not thousands of products that actually do the job, why pick one that is, to put it kindly, largely ineffective? Let’s all have a think about that – answers on a postcard or in a brown paper envelope!!!!

    • It seems BAT jumped through the Pharmafia hoops of medical authorisation by the MHRA, which is about as bureaucratic and expensive as the FDA dooming regs. On this path the Epuke is independent from the TPD. But even more restricted. And useless like all the other NRTs.

      • Dragonmum

        Thanks for that explanation but I still don’t get why no-one seems to have been aware of it – we have some very sharp NHS bods who are vape-supportive but I haven’t seen a tweet out of anyone about this; not that it’s a route anyone would want to go down after spending most of 2013 fighting medicalisation. Was it that long ago? Mind-boggling!!!

        • It happened some time ago. I did notice. But this very restricted gimmick is bound to be about as useless as the NRT junk from the Pharmafia. No significant impact on the real market to be expected.

  • RhydoBaggins

    I find it rather bizarre that this news has not been covered by mainstream news outlets online and it is not even on the NHS website as a press release etc.

    Could R Street be over 8 months behind the reality or know something vaping and harm reduction advocates don’t?

    • castello

      It sure seems like this is old news. Let us know if you find out any more details. I think R street is better than that but who knows.

    • Brian Coe

      I agree seems like old news, as I remember browsing that E voke product and concluding it was only a nicotine inhaler not a Vaping device, whatever it is it won’t compete with open market systems.

      • As far as I remember there are actually two medical gimmicks from BAT. The initial one was the “Voke”, a mechanical inhaler. The second one was “E voke”. This one does have a battery and atomizer.

  • Let’s not kid ourselves about the intent of MHRA or any of those other entities that siphon the life line of smokers quest for a solution to smoking. The gall of those smokers assuming they could just charge up a battery that magically diverts the cash flow back where it belongs. Towards the solution. These parasites know a lot more than we will ever know about the END GAME. They played it well for a long time. Smokers even believed they just wanted to help. Right. Quoting Dr Farsalinos Konstantinos …. again ….. ” You should fight for your lives and your health. It is absolutely irresponsible and dangerous behaviour to ban ecigarettes.

    Non Smokers Rights Association – Canada re: Page 8 https://www.nsra-adnf.ca/cms/file/files/SHAF_E-cig_Forum_Report_Feb_2013-FINAL.pdf

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