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Fahad campaigns for e-cigs to be prescribed by the NHS

University student campaigns for e-cigs to be prescribed on the NHS

  • E-cigarettes 95% safer than cigarettes
  • Users of e-cigarettes see an improvement in health and lifestyle
  • Pilot scheme in Salford providing e-cigarettes to deprived areas may be brought throughout Manchester in the future

A final year student at Manchester Metropolitan University has set up a campaign calling for e-cigarettes to be prescribed by the NHS.

Farhad Hussain, 21, who works at an e-cigarettes shop, he said: “Lots of deaths are caused by smoking and e-cigs are 95% safer than cigarettes.”

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 48.8% of e-cig users reported using e-cigs to help them quit smoking in 2017.

Farhad said: “Lifestyle and body image improves when e-cigs are used as an alternative to smoking.”

“When people quit smoking, taste buds open up and food tastes better. Their teeth and fingernails are no longer yellow.”

pie chart for e-cig
0.5 = Novelty
48.8 = Aid to stop smoking
1.8 = Range of different flavours available
5.3 = Other reasons
29.2 = Perception that they are less harmful than cigarettes
7.0 = Can be used indoors
7.5 = Cheaper than tobacco products
Source: Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Office for National Statistics 2016-2017

Farhad said: “E-cigs should be prescribed on the NHS because they are a safer alternative to cigarettes filled with harmful chemicals.”

According to the ONS, 77,900 deaths were caused by smoking in 2016. This is a 2% reduction on the previous year.

A user holding an e-cig
A user holding an e- cig.

Sian Lambert, from the Greater Manchester health and Social Care Partnership, which is part of NHS England, said: “Medicines and other treatments that are given on prescription in the UK are regulated through the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).”

On prescribing e-cigarettes through the NHS, Sian said: “For e-cigarettes to be provided on prescription through the NHS an e-cigarette manufacturer would need to apply to licence their product as a medication.

Currently there are no e-cigarettes which have been licensed but the MHRA has produced guidance for the licensing of e-cigarettes as medicines so this may change in the future.”

Sian highlighted a pilot scheme in Salford that gives hope to smokers who want to quit.

“Smokers in deprived areas provided with free e-cigarettes alongside support to help them quit. It is possible that this type of offer will be available in other areas of Greater Manchester in the future,” she said.

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