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The UK will become the first country in the world to include e-cigarettes in medical insurance

Now the British government wants to permit a medically licensed e-cigarette.?The aim is to allow doctors to prescribe the devices to patients who want to stop smoking. On October 29 th the?MHRA*, the medicines regulator, encouraged manufacturers to submit products for approval. If all goes to plan, England will be the first country to offer such preions.

Most use the stuff in order to quit cigarettes. Polling by?YouGov?for ASH, an anti-smoking?outfit*, finds that vapers aged over 18 are overwhelmingly former smokers (65%) or current ones (31%). In the past decade the share of adults who smoke cigarettes has fallen from 20% to 14%. The government¡¯s aim is to reach 5% by 2030.


YouGov¡¯s polling finds the most common reasons smokers give for not vaping, aside from not wanting to break their habit, are that they do not want to swap one addiction for another, that they do not think it will help them quit and because of safety concerns. Ministers think preions will help. A doctor¡¯s reassurance may help overcome safety worries.


The government¡¯s enthusiasm for vaping makes it an international?outlier*. The World Health Organization preaches caution, concerned by the relative newness of e-cigarettes. In May a study group on tobacco-product regulation advocated banning devices in which users can control ingredients, which account for most of those sold in Britain. Both France and Germany take a tough line.

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