Should NHS Cover Prescriptions For Vape?
People have been debating for years about whether vaping products should be available on prescription through the NHS. But recent support from medical organisations like Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians has sparked increased interest in the idea.
Smoking is widely regarded as the biggest cause of preventable death in the country. Around half of smokers will die as a result of smoking related illness and approximately seven million people around the world die each year because of smoking. Vaping has been proven to almost double the chances of quitting cigarettes for good and research has shown that vaping is much safer than smoking.
If smoking is causing so much harm and vaping has been proven to help people quit for good, shouldn’t vaping products be available on prescription?
There is a lot of research backing the idea that vaping helps people quit smoking. And a growing number of medical organisations are supporting the use of vaping to help smokers give up tobacco. With all this support and research behind vaping, surely it is only a matter of time before vaping products become available on prescription.
There are a variety of reasons why vaping should be available on prescription. Vaping is safer than smoking and proven to help people quit tobacco for good and live longer, healthier lives. Making vaping more widely available through the NHS would also save the country money as the cost of treating smoking related illness is much higher than the cost of helping people quit with vaping.
Vaping Products By Prescription
In the United Kingdom today doctors can only prescribe nicotine replacement therapies that have been officially certified as medical products. This is a big hurdle to overcome as it would mean every individual vaping device and e-liquid for prescription use would have to be individually certified which is a long and complicated process.
Vaping has been proven to help people quit smoking and there are a growing number of medical organisations that recognise how useful vaping can be. Many of these organisations support the idea of vaping products being made available on prescription. So, despite the difficulties of making vaping products available on prescription, there is a lot of support for the idea.
The health risks of smoking
In the United Kingdom alone around one hundred thousand people die each year as a result of smoking related disease and about ten thousand of these are the result of second-hand smoking. This means that around ten percent of the people killed by smoking are non-smokers and statistics show that most of these victims of passive smoking live with a smoker. Smoking is harmful and often deadly not just to the smoker but also those around them.
Cigarettes and other tobacco products produce thousands of chemicals which have a strong connection to cancer as well as heart disease, lung disease and other illnesses. Smoking tobacco also creates tar, a combination of chemicals which coats the lungs causing lung damage, emphysema, bronchitis and lung cancer.
Healthcare Cost From Smoking
Approximately half of smokers die as a result of smoking related disease like cancer. That means there are millions of people in the United Kingdom suffering from potentially fatal illnesses as a result of smoking.
These smoking related diseases cost the healthcare system a huge amount of money. In England alone smoking costs the NHS an estimated three billion pounds per year and the true cost could be twice as high. This price includes millions spent on consultations with GPs and nurses as well as millions more on prescriptions and hospital treatments.
Making vaping products available on prescription would help people quit smoking and could save the NHS billions each year.
Support from Healthcare Organisations
In the last couple of years several medical organisations have started to show their support for vaping as a way to help smokers quit for good. The Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England have said that smokers who use e-cigarettes or other prescribed medications are more likely to quit permanently. Public Health England, part of the Department of Health and Social Care, has also released a report agreeing with research that vaping is at least 95% safer than cigarettes. The support of organisations like this can make a big difference to smokers who are looking for a way to help quit cigarettes but were unsure about vaping.
A report from the Royal College of Physicians also emphasises that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. And one of the co-authors of this report has said that e-cigarettes have very little downside and a lot of potential benefits as well as being extremely positive for public health. On top of all this the Department of Health and Social Care have agreed, saying that evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than cigarettes.
With so much support from healthcare organisations recognising the benefits of vaping, surely it’s only a matter of time before vaping becomes available on prescription.
There are a lot of advantages to making vaping products available from the NHS. Most importantly vaping has been proven to almost double the chances of quitting cigarettes for good, so making vaping more accessible means more people giving up smoking. It will also save the NHS a huge sum of money as diseases caused by smoking cost the NHS billions of pounds each year.
At the moment it’s difficult to predict if or when vaping products are likely to become available on prescription. Getting individual kits and juices certified as medical products may take time and there needs to be a big drive to make this change happen. However, the support of medical professionals in the United Kingdom is an encouraging sign that vaping is being taken seriously as a useful way to help people quit smoking. Hopefully this means more smokers will turn to vaping to help them give up tobacco for good.