After the recent report by Public Health England that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional smoking, many have called into question whether these devices should finally be recognised by the NHS and included in their stop smoking initiative.

It was only in June this year that the Anti-Smoking Charity (ASH) confirmed that since their launch in 2003, 1.1 million adults have switched from traditional smoking to using e-cigarettes alone, and in a more current survey detailing the fitness of vapers, 71% of those using the devices commented that they feel fitter and healthier because of them.

With so many surveys and investigations being in favour of e-cigarettes it’s no surprise that it was recently reported by the BBC that health campaigners have been welcoming the findings and petitioning for the devices to be available on the NHS.

At present 80,000 people in the UK die every year as a result of traditional smoking, and thoughts are that if these devices became more readily available it would reduce this amount by approximately 4,000 deaths a year.

Currently GPs and stop-smoking services are not able to prescribe e-cigarettes for medicinal purposes, which is a hurdle that can only be removed with significant research by the government.

The cost to the NHS for prescription treatments for smokers cost just under £49 million in the year between 2013-2014, but many have argued that the introduction of e-cigarettes would increase this cost, adding additional financial strain.

As an industry constantly surrounded by controversy it’s without doubt the biggest argument currently putting the spotlight on vapers.

Many argue that the increase in cost to the tax payer simply puts e-cigarettes at the expense of the public, making it yet another burden.

The simple fact is, at present the vaping industry has an extensive offering of devices and eliquids, and a complete overhaul would be unthinkable for wholesalers.

Could the government and e-cigarette brands come to regulations that will benefit the thriving industry but still make it a successful sector? Or would the government take over and attempt to inflict useless regulations.

There have already been conflicts in this area with a recent legal challenge between the Tobacco Products Directive  and e-cigarette supplier Totally Wicked, as the European Parliament have attempted to inflict unrealistic expectations on the industry that goes against everything that it stands for. With proposed restrictions on advertising in the e-cigarette industry, brands are unable to inform customers to make a health alternative.

Regular vapers themselves are finding it a hard pill to swallow that the devices and flavours they’ve come to love may become unavailable if they were to be taken on the NHS.

The argument is now laid bare for the government to consider, but with such strong links to the traditional tobacco industry, it could be a long time until these predictions become a reality.

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