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The debate over e-cigarettes


Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that often look like cigarettes but do not contain tobacco. They contain an airflow sensor and a heating element. Some can be recharged via a USB port. Others are disposable.

On inhalation, a solution, often containing nicotine, is vaporised into a fine mist resembling cigarette smoke. The solution can also contain propylene glycol or glycerin and flavourings. The solution can be housed in a cartridge that is attached to the device or can be provided in a bottle and poured into the device. Cartridges can contain up to 16mg of nicotine.

As the “vaper” inhales, an LED lights up at the end of the e-cigarette, mimicking burning tobacco.

Recently, since a few pharmacies have decided to sell e-cigarettes, a debate over the role of pharmacists in offering e-cigarettes has been started. The RPS is opposed to selling e-cigarettes as long as they are unregulated and the pharmaceutical regulator says pharmacists should consider relevant guidance from appropriate bodies such as the MHRA and the RPS. Others claim that e-cigarettes can help in reducing harm for smokers. On this page you will find all the information we have to offer over this ongoing debate.

SPECIAL REPORT: The debate over e-cigarettes

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