Majority Of UK GPs Would Prescribe E-Cigarettes, If They Were RegulatedMain Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 04 Mar 2013
New report, published in GP Magazine today, concludes "GPs averse to nicotine delivery devices being introduced to the market without a robust regulatory system in place."
However, e-cigarettes could be the answer to help reduce health inequalities and save lives.
That's according to the findings of new research, which asked both GPs and smokers for their opinions on current stop-smoking initiatives:
With an annual cost to the NHS attributable to smoking estimated at around £2.7bnv, and recent figures published in Annals of Oncology showing the number of lung cancer cases in the UK - particularly among women - is still rising, in a world first the UK's Department of Health is looking at a radical new approach to the smoking epidemic.
Currently smokers only receive 12 weeks of a nicotine-containing product, such as gum or patches, on prescription alongside support from a Stop Smoking Advisor. The draft guidance from NICE on harm reduction approaches to smoking, published in October 2012, recommends that health professionals should offer nicotine-containing products on prescription to people who smoke, as part of a harm-reduction strategy to abstain from smoking on a short, medium or longer-term basis.
Nearly 40 per cent of smokers would be more likely to try and quit using a nicotine-containing product if they were available for longer than 12 weeks, a new survey reveals, which is promising given that it also shows 64 per cent of smokers currently want to quit.
The findings have been released in conjunction with today's publication of a report from GP Magazine in which GPs agreed the NICE guidance offers a pragmatic approach to managing smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit; and a potentially meaningful way of decreasing the current 20 per cent prevalence of smoking in the UKi.
Dr Roger Henderson, a GP from Shropshire, said: "Encouraging patients to swap cigarettes for nicotine-containing products would dramatically improve their health and could potentially save millions of lives. However, although helpful, few smokers find current Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to be a satisfying alternative to smoking. For some smokers it's not just the nicotine, it is a conditioned habit that is triggered by the sensory cues and rituals so often associated with smoking. The need to address this may in part explain the dramatic rise in the use of e-cigarettes by smokers trying to quit, as they offer smokers a similar experience to their normal habit."
The Royal College of Physicians has been calling for new nicotine products since 2007 stating that: "If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved." In fact it is estimated that a switch of just one per cent of smokers a year from smoking to less harmful nicotine sources could save around 60,000 lives in only 10 years.
E-cigarettes are currently the only products that deliver nicotine with an experience closer to cigarettes, and therefore could be the answer to the country's smoking problem. However, many of the GPs participating in the GP Magazine forum, sponsored by Nicoventures, were averse to nicotine delivery devices being introduced to the market without a robust regulatory system in placei.
Additional GP survey data:
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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