With public health chiefs saying that e-cigarettes should be made available free on the NHS, we thought we’d take a look at the arguments both for and against. Have a read and tell us, where do you stand on this issue?

The Case Against

Those that are against giving smokers e-cigarettes on the NHS point to a number of different reasons why this should be the case.

E-cigarettes are not an aid to quitting smoking, they are an alternative to smoking

As long as people are addicted to nicotine, there remains the risk that they will return to smoking tobacco, because they are still a slave to nicotine. People should be encouraged to give up smoking altogether, not just take one step away from it and use and e-cigarette. Once people have the willpower to break the nicotine addiction, they can enjoy a lifetime free from it and enjoy a longer and better quality of life.

E-cigarettes do not address the reasons why people smoke

In many other countries, the health services take a social service approach to smoking a look at the reasons why people smoke and look at what stresses and strains are in their life that make the turn to ectoine time and time again. SImply giving people an e-cigarette doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, which means they will always struggle to break free from nicotine addiction.

There are already similar devices available on prescription

There are already similar devices that are available from the NHS that can help people give up their addiction to smoking. Nicotine inhalers, nicotine gum, patches and tablets are all available on prescription. Do we really need to put e-cigarettes on there as well?

Because the popularity of vaping, prescribing e-cigarettes will be a huge financial burden on the NHS

It will be a financial burden on the NHS. It’s not like it is a one-off charge either. As well as the liquid that will be needed to be replaced regularly, e-cigarettes don’t last forever, which means the NHS will be increasingly burdened financially.

The Case For

Cigarettes are killers and according to Public Health England, e-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco

Quite simply, the fact is that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking tobacco. These are Public Health England’s statistics and as well as this, both Cancer Research and ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) are positive about vaping and the way it can help people quit smoking and improve their health.

Nicotine replacement therapy has been found not to be effective

There are other products that offer to replace the nicotine that a smoker gets from a cigarette. Inhalers, patches, tablets and gum have all been pushed hard by the NHS as aids to quitting the evil weed. However the fact is that statistically, they have been hugely ineffective when compared to vaping. It is these that are costing the NHS money. Putting e-cigarettes on prescription would actually save the NHS a substantial amount of money.

Secondhand vapour is harmless

Research has found that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes is as harmless as air. That means that the NHS can safely prescribe e-cigarettes to people safe in the knowledge that if they are to use them close by to people or in a public place, the vapour will not have any negative effect on nearby people’s health.

Stopping smoking will ultimately save the NHS money

Prescribing people e-cigarettes will ultimately save the NHS a huge amount of money. Smoking is responsible for an enormous amount of serious and life threatening conditions, from a range of cancers to heart attacks, emphysema, osteoporosis and even impotence and thus knowing how effective e-cigarettes are tempting smokers away from tobacco, the effect could be enormous and revolutionise health system funding.

E-cigarettes will give smokers a healthier, longer life

At the end of the day, if we encourage smokers to vape, whether by prescription or not, we’ll have our loved ones who smoke with us for longer and experiencing a happier, healthier life. There’s no better reason than that really is there?

What’s your view? Should e-cigarettes be available on prescription? Where do you stand on the issue?