SO I've just sat through Petrie Hoskens' show on LBC, in which she informed the listening public that BAT's new e-Voke - the world's first ecig to get a medicines license - would be available to be prescribed as from tomorrow, the 4th of January 2016.
She was asking listeners to comment on whether it was good to have medicinal ecigs paid for by the taxpayer. I had advance notice, so rang in at 12:15 to take part. I was told to call back at 1pm. So I rang at 12:59, as one does, and was told I "may" be called back. I wasn't.
Here's what I'd have said:
There's none anywhere, so they can't be prescribed
I asked pharmacists whether there were any in stock such that a prescription for one could be fulfilled. There's not that anyone knows of. So no, no prescriptions for ecigs from 4th Jan 2016.
This move could be counterproductive anyway
The e-Voke is not what's you'd call a current model. It is supposed to have implemented technology to produce a "consistent dosage, puff to puff". It is, as I read it, a 2010 M401 with a voltage regulator in it (think eGo technology). Its cartridges hold, at most ⅓ of a millilitre of eliquid. They'll last next to no time. I had a few years ago. I went through at least ten cartridges a day, and, frankly, they were a bugger to mess with - I had to use "the vaper's flick" to ensure all of the minuscule amount of liquid in the cartridge got to the coil via the bridge. Today, that's just not good enough and folks will be put off moving onto something decent.
If you can afford to smoke, you can easily afford to vape
Most folks moving to vaping will find very quickly that they save money, even with the daftest priced kit out there. But there are some caveats: You DO need to have enough battery power to get you from waking to sleeping - a full day on a single e-Voke? Not going to happen, for anyone. Most 20 a day smokers would need at least four batteries - one in use, one stood by, and two on charge (the batteries are pisspotically small and last for maybe three cartridges before they're flat).
They CAN be refilled, so juice costs need not be ridiculous, but, again, you'd need to be sure you have juice handy. That's not something a prescribed ecig is going to provide, unless the practitioner involved is properly clued up - most aren't. (I do not include Louise Ross and her team in this, by the way).
In short, prescribed meds ecigs are a very bad idea.
Bottom line, them being NRT means they'll be as crap as NRT. We all know how badly NRT performs - 95% of NRT users relapse inside 12 months. A fully switched vaper? Rarely relapses.
They are unlikely to lead to people moving towards a decent, good ecig as we know them - they're more likely to put people off vaping altogether, they will be so useless as a good alternative to smoking lit tobacco. More relapse, then.
If ED medication is anything to go by, even if they're decent med ecigs, practitioners are not likely to to prescribe enough supplies to keep a new vaper happy and satisfied and fully switched (seriously, NHS, four ED pills a month? Thanks, but no thanks - I'll buy abroad and get one a day).
There's probably more I'd have got to, but as a quick penning before Petrie goes off air, this is about as much as I want to say. You may feel motivated to tweet this at @lbc and others...