The decision to advocate e-cigarette use should take into consideration any additional information on the long-term safety of e-cigarettes use, according to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in a statement it issued today (11 April.)
Reportedly, almost one in three people in Ireland use e-cigarettes in their attempt to quit smoking and despite some promising results, HIQA said that 'there was not enough evidence at present to reliably demonstrate their effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation'.
HIQA’s health technology assessment is the first ever analysis carried out to compare the cost-effectiveness of alternative mixes of smoking cessation interventions, with an existing standard of care and the first assessment in the EU to examine the cost-effectiveness of e-cigarettes as an intervention to help people quit smoking.
Dr Máirín Ryan, HIQA’s director of Health Technology Assessment, explained: “HIQA advises the Minister to await the results of ongoing trials before deciding whether to recommend e-cigarettes. A decision to advocate e-cigarette use should take into consideration any additional information on the long-term safety of e-cigarettes use, and any emerging data in relation to concerns about the social normalisation of e-cigarettes leading to increased uptake among people who have never smoked, or later migration to tobacco cigarettes.”
HIQA also highlighted that it has advised the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD that investing in interventions to help people quit smoking is effective and provides good value for money.
Ryan said: “Smoking is a major public health problem in Ireland. One in five deaths each year is due to tobacco smoke. There are approximately 820,000 smokers in Ireland, with half making at least one quit attempt each year. Yearly expenditure on smoking cessation activity is estimated to be over €40 million. This health technology assessment has found that providing these interventions to help people quit smoking not only works, but is good value for money.”
The report found that behavioural interventions, such as counselling and group behaviour therapy, are also effective in helping smokers to quit compared to quitting with minimal help.
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