UK e-cigarette regulation/NICE tobacco harm reduction guidance

Electronic cigarettes and other products that contain nicotine are to be regulated as medicines in the UK, announced the MHRA recently. The MHRA says that the quality of nicotine-containing products varies considerably at present: nicotine levels can differ from what is on the label, which could affect efficacy; and there are also safety concerns about the unexpectedly high levels of toxins sometimes found. Regulation should address both safety and efficacy. New European legislation is expected in 2014, with the UK law expected to change in 2016. In the meantime, manufacturers are encouraged to apply for medicines licenses. Cancer Research UK and NHS Choices have both published interesting blog posts on this.

NICE has recently published guidance on tobacco harm reduction approaches to smoking, to complement its smoking cessation guidance. The guidance includes approaches with and without nicotine containing products.