E-cigarettes inquiry as MPs warn of 'gaps' in research

Postado Outubro 25, 2017

The Science and Technology Committee will look at the impact of e-cigarettes on human health, their usefulness as tools for quitting smoking, the regulations governing how they are sold, and the financial implications of their use on business and the NHS.

As the new products have grown in popularity, so have questions over their safety and whether they should be actively supported in the NHS as smoking cessation tools or viewed as a step back towards normalising smoking tobacco.

Meanwhile, in July 2017, the government published its tobacco control plan, which emphasised that the Department of Health would be monitoring the impact of e-cigarette regulations.

While vaping does not carry as many known health risks as smoking, and Public Health England is encouraging people to switch from smoking to e-cigarettes, this does not mean it is completely safe.

They also wanted to hear about the uptake of e-cigarettes among young people and evidence on whether e-cigarettes played a role in "re-normalising' smoking". Recent research has shown that while teens who vape might be more likely to try cigarettes, most young people who try e-cigarettes don't become regular users.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, said that while e-cigarettes can help smokers quit they aren't a stand-alone solution, and any policies should be based on the best available evidence.

The MPs said they will be considering the implications of Brexit on e-cigarette regulation.

"We should be very cautious of the unintended consequences of taking a heavy handed approach such as banning them in all indoor public places, as has just been done in NY", he said.

Now e-cigarettes are not available on prescription from the NHS, and draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) don't promote their use as a quitting tool.

Nearly three million people in the United Kingdom now "vape", but the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, and a former health minister, Norman Lamb warned there are still significant gaps in the research guiding their regulation and sale. The full remit of the inquiry can be found here.