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APPG suggests offering free e-cigs in smoking clinics

All-party pharmacy group chair Kevin Barron MP has backed the devices as a "major breakthrough" for public health


E-cigarette manufacturers could offer free samples at smoking cessation clinics, the chair of the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) has suggested.

Kevin Barron MP believes that more people use e-cigarettes than nicotine replacement therapies, and offering the devices in smoking cessation clinics could help smokers “get to know the products”.

The devices are a “major breakthrough” for public health and “urgent talks” are needed to ensure EU licensing restrictions coming into force next year will not reduce public access to them, he told C+D in an exclusive interview on Monday (September 14).

Sir Kevin hailed a Public Health England (PHE) report last month that “looked forward” to licensed e-cigarettes becoming available on prescription as “groundbreaking”. “We have to protect e-cigarettes and make sure they are licensed properly so there is quality control,” he said.

Arguments that providing the devices on prescription will simply allow smokers to save money on cigarettes are a “waste of breath”, Sir Kevin said. “We have to get real about e-cigarettes. There is no evidence at all about them being used to get people [to smoke] tobacco,” he told C+D.

Sir Kevin, who was the originator of the 1993 parliamentary bill to ban tobacco product advertising, said he had undertaken a “fundamental rethink” about using e-cigarettes indoors.

He no longer sees “a reason why [e-cigarettes users] should have to leave buildings to do it”, he stressed. “Why are we forcing people to stand next to people who are smoking? It is illogical,” he said.

PHE revealed earlier this month that this year’s Stoptober campaign will be the first to condone e-cigarettes


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