London (Reuters) – British Health Regulators have given the green signal to an
British-American Tobacco Electronic-cigarette vaping /e-cigarette device to be sold as a quit
smoking medicine, the first such product o be given a drug license in the UK.
The decision to provide BAT’s e-Voke as a state funded National Health Service for
patients trying to give up smoking.
“We want to ensure licensed nicotine containing products – including e-cigarettes
– which make medicinal claims are available and meet appropriate standards of
safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms from smoking.” The
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a
statement on Monday.
Many experts think e-cigarettes, which heat nicotine-laced liquid into an inhalable
vapor, are a lower-risk alternative to smoking, but since they are relatively new
products, there is little long-term evidence on their safety.
Public Health England, the health administration of government, says that
e-vaporizers are 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes, which cause lung
cancer and many other diseases and kill half of all those who use them.
BAT said in a statement that it is considering commercialize the product which
uses cartridge containing pharmaceutical grade nicotine.
There are more than 2 million e-cigarette users in Britain, out of which one third
is ex-smokers and two-third are current smokers.
Big Tobacco firms, including BAT, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco and
Imperial Tobacco Gorup, are jostling for position in the emerging vaping market
which is valued at $ 7 billion for 2015.
The MHRA said “ it would continue to encourage companies to voluntarily submit
medicines license applications for e-cigarettes and other nicotine containing
products as medicines” and hoped to see more e-cigarettes and next generation
nicotine delivery products submit applications in future.