Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Smoking cessation

Select committee launches inquiry into e-cigarettes

After Public Health England highlighted the use of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation, a House of Commons select committee will investigate whether the popularity of e-cigarettes is encouraging young people to start, rather than stop, smoking.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the health benefits and risks of e-cigarettes.

Norman Lamb, chair of the committee, said that e-cigarettes are “seen by some as valuable tools that will reduce the number of people smoking ‘conventional’ cigarettes, and seen by others as ‘re-normalising’ smoking for the younger generation”.

Almost three million people in the UK regularly use e-cigarettes, but there is little consensus on the safety and efficacy of the products as smoking cessation aids. For the first time this year, Public Health England highlighted the use of e-cigarettes as aids to quit smoking in its annual Stoptober campaign. But in draft guidance published last month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said that while healthcare practitioners should “offer advice on using nicotine replacement products on general sale, including e-cigarettes”, there was “currently little evidence on the long-term benefits or harms of these products”.

Shamir Patel, pharmacist and director at Skelmersdale-based online pharmacy, has previously called for guidance for pharmacists on this topic.

“For too long we have been given conflicting advice on e-cigarettes and their benefits versus their risks,” he said.

It is time pharmacists were given clear guidelines on how to advise patients asking about e-cigarettes. Hopefully, this inquiry will serve to do that.

“Smoking is still a huge problem and pharmacists needs to be well equipped to give patients the best advice possible.”

The Commons committee has said it wants to explore the health impact of e-cigarettes, and identify current gaps in the evidence for risk versus harm. It will also look at the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, and whether their popularity is encouraging young people to start, rather than quit, smoking.

The committee is inviting written responses to these questions, as well as on the regulatory and economic implications of greater e-cigarette use. The deadline for submissions is 8 December 2017.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203807

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • e-cigarette

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.