First e-cigarettes to be prescribed on the NHS in the New Year but ministers wanted to keep it quiet in case GPs are overrun

E-cigarettes will be prescribed on the NHS for the first time in the New Year but ministers are said to have tried to keep the move quiet over fears that GPs would be overrun by people demanding them.
Doctors will soon be able to hand out the device to smokers who want to quit, a move that will reportedly cost the NHS in the region of £20 per kit and £10 a week for each patient’s cartridges.
But public health minister Jane Ellison is said to have hoped that the government could keep the news under wraps until the e-cigarettes are available via prescription in 2016.
According to Nigel Nelson of the Sunday People, a Whitehall source said: ‘We didn’t want to make a song and dance about it because GPs would be overrun by people demanding it.
‘But this is something we’ve been pushing for.’
Ms Ellison had to reveal details of the e-cigarette plan after being asked a direct question by Labour MP Steve McCabe.
She told him that the Government believed ‘vaping’ was ‘significantly less harmful than smoking’ and added that medicinal license applications were ‘encouraged’.
It followed last month’s decision by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to license British American Tobacco’s e-Voke.

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