Vapers in Power is concerned that NHS prescribed e-cigarettes could transform a proven means of quitting smoking into a profit centre for Big Pharma.
Vapers in Power (ViP) has welcomed the news that health experts are to advise the NHS that e-cigarettes should be prescribed for smokers wanting to quit. But the campaigning group has serious concerns that the consequences of this dramatic U-turn have not been properly considered. It is worried that ill-considered implementation of these proposals could make ‘medical e-cigs’ as ineffective as current nicotine replacement therapies and even push current vapers back to smoking cigarettes.
Liam Bryan, Campaign Manager for ViP, the political party and pressure group formed to represent the UK’s vapers, said, “These experts are very late to the party.
An estimated two and a half million smokers have already turned to vaping to reduce or replace smoking. They have done so without support from their GPs, who, until recently, were often strongly opposed to vaping. While we welcome the medical establishment on board our band-wagon, we hope they will be wise enough to listen to the views and experiences of the nation’s vapers who have managed very well so far without medical interference.”
ViP is concerned that this change of direction by the medical establishment might have the effect of reclassifying e-cigarettes as medical devices.
This would put them on a par with other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as nicotine patches and chewing gum which are known to be
unsuccessful in up to 94% of cases. Despite this failure rate, these products are huge earners for the pharmaceutical industry which is now reported to be desperate to get its hands on e-cigarettes as a new profit centre.
Bryan said, “If the NHS starts prescribing vaping devices, will they be sourced from a single supplier? Who will be awarded this lucrative contract? Will they be repackaged as medicine? Will existing suppliers of
vaping equipment be forced out of the market by repressive legislation? We already know that the government has turned the regulation of vaping over
to The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with its close ties to the pharmaceutical companies. Will the knock-on effect be to wipe out this country’s innovative vaping industry which is currently generating employment for ten of thousands of people?”
One of the reasons behind the success of e-cigarettes in helping smokers to quit is that they have become a lifestyle choice for many people. Vapers take pride in their devices. The post pictures on-line of themselves
blowing clouds of vapour and publish the number of days since their last cigarette. They attend conventions and local meetings to talk to other
users and swap information on new e-juices. Facebook and other social media are rich in vaping groups. This contrasts with the almost furtive nature of current NRT therapies which are hidden under clothing or concealed in pockets.
“At present, vaping is driven by consumer-led demand for new vaping devices and the enormous range of e-juices available,” Bryan said. “If all this innovation is legislated back to drab little medical devices and government approved flavours, as current EU proposals recommend, vaping will lose much of its appeal. The end result will be less smokers turning into vapers, and even current vapers turning back to cigarettes.”
Editors’ contact for further information: Liam Bryan (Campaign Manager for Vapers In Power)