should e-cigarettes be on NHS prescriptions

Medicalizing E-Cigarettes Would Be The Wrong Move – There Is A Better And More ‘Cost Effective’ Way And It’s Happening Now!

Never mind the cost to the NHS of making some e-cigarettes available on prescription – chances are they might not be as effective in helping people quit smoking.

And as it stands at the moment there isn’t actually a design or brand that is anywhere near reaching the exacting [and expensive] standards required.

And given the costly red tape and hoops a company would have to jump through it’s highly unlikely anyone without a bottomless bag of cash would choose that route as a business model.

The last attempt was the eVOKe designed and manufactured by British America Tobacco – however that whole operation has been stubbed out and these guys do have a seemingly endless supply of cash and lawyers!

So why is it probably less likely for smokers to fail quit attempts using a prescribed medicalized e-cigarette compared to one bought in a vape shop?

There are a few reasons – however one I’ve had niggling away at me for quite some time has now been echoed by the Independent British Vape Trade Association and their chief executive Gillian Golden.

In a letter sent to Scottish newspaper the Herald – she uses the word ‘Empowerment’ – and as you’ll see that is a key factor to quitting smoking successfully by using e-cigarettes.

She obviously gives other reasons too – however it’s ‘empowerment’ that pretty much all of us who made the tough transition from smoking to vaping whether we knew it or not – needed to be successful.

The dictionary definition of ‘empowerment’ is:

…the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

Gillian argues that:

The experience of IBVTA members across the UK is that the smokers who do the best in terms of cutting down or switching completely are the smokers who take personal responsibility for their own start-up costs.

They feel empowered because they have done it themselves and are therefore more likely to persevere with vaping.

Given there’s no vape devices available on prescription those of us who have made the switch have indeed been empowered – we researched it – we bought it – we persevered with it – we made a success of it!

The point being if e-cigarette devices were handed out on prescription you’ve taken away those 4 key pillars making the smoker less likely to persevere as it was given to them ‘on a plate’ so to speak.

Gillian says:

Unlike traditional cessation methods, vaping is empowering.

It represents a market-based, user driven, public health insurgency.

That is why it is so successful.

No taxpayers’ money has been spent, yet smokers are stopping, switching, and cutting down through the use of vape products.

I’ve touched on this many times before – over 3million of us in the UK have made the successful switch and despite Government legislation and dire fake news warnings in the media – we’ve done very well on our own thank you very much.

However and this is crucial –if you really think about it vape kits are NOT medical devices at all.

Should We Medicalize Coffee and Caffeine?

Sure the early Mouth to lung (MTL) kits are kind of used for maybe highly personalized medical reasons – as in quitting the cancer sticks – but truth be told they soon become extremely pleasurable to regular users – hence the community aspect of vaping!

Ah…the pleasure principle…

Given nicotine has the same effect on the body as caffeine – and there’s tons of coffee addicts out there – just check any social media lol – how come Governments and health watchdogs aren’t all over coffee?

Nicotine and vaping

I mean folks talk about their need for regular ‘caffeine fixes’ and oh how everyone laughs!

Yet mention you need a ‘nicotine fix’ and you’re looked at like you’ve sprouted devil horns!

Both are pleasurable – both are harmless to you and bystanders and both are PLEASURABLE!

So why the need for one to go down the medical route?

Double standards for sure.

Smokers From Less Well Off Backgrounds

So what about the smokers who really can’t afford to buy that first starter kit and e-liquid?

I know prices have tumbled but as we keep being reminded in Government and charity run surveys and studies – there is a case to be made for the poorer families out there needing a helping hand.

So should we rule out free on prescription e-cigarettes to this group of smokers?

Yes – I think we should.

However as we saw in the recent scheme that ran in Hampshire where NHS Stop Smoking Clinics were giving out ‘vape vouchers’ to cash in a nearby vape shops – this could be the way forward.

Such was the success of the pilot scheme ran by Quit4Life in Basingstoke – it’s now being rolled out across the whole of Hampshire.

Quit4Life poster

Julia Robson, clinical service manager of Quit4Life said:

Quit4Life is excited to be supporting Public Health England in their message to embrace quitting smoking through the use of electronic cigarettes.

As shown in the Smokefree and Stoptober messages, e-cigarettes can be extremely effective as a means to giving up smoking, especially when combined with additional support from a stop smoking service, when you can increase your chances of a successful quit.

This cost-effective and popular way to switch from smoking cigarettes has already helped many smokers in Hampshire to quit tobacco.

Quit4Life aim to support as many people as possible who would like to improve both their health and wealth by quitting smoking, either with a vape or more traditional medication.

Now given the NHS Stop Smoking Services are seeing a fall in the numbers of smokers turning to them – this could be a brilliant way of spending their tight budgets – Julia made it clear that this is ” cost-effective”.

The NHS makes it very clear that using a stop smoking service alongside an e-cigarette gives a smoker a far greater chance of quitting – some might argue against that…

The Quit4Life Vape Voucher Scheme Hailed A Success

However this is a very clever thinking ‘outside of the box’ scheme that seems to be working very well indeed.

Kara Pym from The Vape Inn in Basingstoke read our article on this and told us:

We offer a t18e or similar an extra coil and 3 liquids, every customer is given a complete lesson on how it works, cleaning and maintenance, and have the choice of what liquids they would like, We have all the liquids available to try.

So far the response has been great, and I would say that the majority of people that had the voucher are returning customers, the support from the “quit 4 life” team is amazing, the team we deal with is made up from non and previous smokers, they have all expressed a great deal of interest in vaping , they always have questions, and are keen to learn of new items on the market.

This scheme has the potential to change many hundreds of lives, glad to hear its being rolled out further.

So by creating a scheme like this the NHS is working hand in hand with a local front line business – the customer is receiving a very good piece of kit – real expert hands on advice AND the cash is going into a local business and NOT into the hands of a big tobacco backed company.

I call that a win win for all involved.

Brian Coe from vaping advocacy and pressure group Vapers Stand United agrees:

I think this is a great idea, I just hope shops don’t just sell a 200 watt mod & 3mg/ml e-liquid, they have to be given the best chance of successfully switching by choosing the best product for them & some good information on how vaping works, also after sales customer service if they have problems.

If this is scheme is successful then hopefully it’ll catch on everywhere else in the UK.

Smokers.. this is a great opportunity to improve your health, I’ve been fully switched for nearly 4.5 years and took just 2 days to switch, I’ve never touched a cigarette since.

Go for it & best of luck!

If this scheme was to be rolled out countrywide I can see no reason at all why it wouldn’t be just as successful.

quit4life hampshire vape vouchers

And of course this would mean there was absolutely no need to medicalize e-cigarettes – which would mean adding even more tiers of legislation to them.

As I said in the article – Could Vape Shops Team Up With the NHS and Should They? – it’s loosely linked schemes such as the Quit4Life programme that shows the NHS and local vape shops can work together.

And so long as further legislation isn’t brought in such as licensing for instance – then hopefully more local stop smoking services will take a leaf out out Quit4Life’s book and do something similar.


What are your thoughts on receiving e-cigarettes on prescription?

Let us know in the comments below!

Neil H
I began vaping over 6 years ago and found it easy to give up a 40 per day roll-up habit! DTL: Lost Vape DNA75C BF - Dead Rabbit SQ - MTL: JacVapour Sandstorm DNA 75 + Vandy Vape Berserker...Beater set-up Yosta Livepor 160w + Geekvape Zeus RTA - I'm a former journalist and now a sort of writer and author...I now have a beard - though not a hipster one - mine looks like a dead badgers bum or as I call it 'distinguished'... I'm an Army veteran - adore dogs and never happier than with a good book on a beach.


  1. I’ve stopped with tobacco, miss it like crazy after 50 years, lost to many family members and friends to the big C. Vaping has become the new habbit. ive enjoyed it so far for the past 5 years.


  2. I gave up cigs over a year ago using all produced band vape cig. There is a growing market now with e_cigs. Pens do not last very long so have to replace. My next step is vape with no nicotine and then stop completely! As I said consumers will foot the cost initially. I was very heavy smoker and I wish I had done it years ago. Smoking smells awful and is so harmful. Total waste of money so good luck to all.


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