Survey suggests many UK doctors oppose e-cigarettes

Written by || 30 July, 2014 || Business news analysis |

Lego doctor 300x180A new survey suggests that two-thirds of UK doctors would like to see greater restrictions on the accessibility of e-cigarettes.

The survey of 525 doctors by – a medical professional forum – found that the most popular option was to see e-cigarettes only available from pharmacies. Two out of five or 40% of those surveyed preferred this method of restriction.

A further 13% believed that the devices should be available only on a prescription basis while 16% of the doctors surveyed did not think they should be sold at all in the UK.

Only 31% of the surveyed doctors supported the current regulation of e-cigarettes and said that they should continue to be freely available.

WalesOnline quoted Dr James Quekett, a practising GP and director of educational services for as saying: “I think e-cigarettes need to be regulated like a medicine and then be available as a pharmacy-only product. This would bring them into line with nicotine replacement products.”

The survey follows on from a significantly more in-depth EU-wide study published last month in Tobacco Control. The study of e-cigarette use across Europe found that there had been a significant rise in the number of people who had tried an e-cigarette. It estimated that there were now 29 million European that had tried the products – although that did not necessarily mean they were regular users.

The UK market continues to be one of the most important in Europe, as demonstrated by the continued acquisition activity being undertaken by tobacco firms in the e-cigarette sector.

What this means: It is interesting that UK doctors are sceptical of the use of e-cigarettes. But there is a significant amount of disagreement amongst doctors about the best way to proceed with e-cigarettes. If this was an election, none of the candidates would have received enough votes and we’d be headed for a run-off or some form of coalition.

Although medical bodies have not supported e-cigarettes as harm reduction products, most have asked for more evidence before reaching a conclusion on regulation. It seems that is still what most are doing in the UK.

– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff