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E-cigarette may become available on NHS – BBC News

Media captionHywel Griffith reports on new EU laws to be introduced on e-cigarettes

The UK medicines regulator has approved a brand of e-cigarette to be marketed as an aid to help people stop smoking.

The decision means e-Voke, produced by British American Tobacco, could be prescribed on the NHS.

Public Health England says e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco and help smokers quit.

But some experts, including the British Medical Association, say the benefits and harms are not yet known since e-cigarettes are still relatively new.

The Royal College of GPs said doctors would be reluctant to hand them out to patients without clear merits.

Around 10m adults – one in five – in the UK smoke cigarettes.

Many of these would like to or are actively trying to kick the habit and an increasing number are turning to e-cigarettes, the NHS says.

In the year up to April 2015, two out of three people who used e-cigarettes in combination with the NHS stop smoking service managed to successfully quit.

Prof Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England, says e-cigarettes have become the most popular quitting aid in England.

And he thinks more people should benefit.

“Public Health England wants to see a choice of safe and effective replacements for smoking that smokers themselves want to use,” he said.

But Dr Tim Ballard of the Royal College of GPs said it would be unreasonable for the NHS to be asked to fund lifestyle choices for people.

“Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit,” he said.

“At the moment there isn’t the evidence and the guidance hasn’t been written to help GPs make those decisions.”


1. On some e-cigarettes, inhalation activates the battery-powered atomiser. Other types are manually switched on

2. A heating coil inside the atomiser heats liquid nicotine contained in a cartridge

3. The mixture becomes vapour and is inhaled. Many e-cigarettes have an LED light as a cosmetic feature to simulate traditional cigarette glow.

Different brands of e-cigarettes contain different chemical concentrations.


Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Heath (ASH) said: “Electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative source of nicotine for smokers than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are risk-free and we would discourage anyone who’s not a smoker from using them.

“It is good news that an electronic cigarette has received a licence from the medicines regulator, as we know that they have been effective in helping smokers quit, and the cost, as part of a quit attempt, will be far lower than treating the diseases caused by smoking.”

Another type of nicotine inhaler which closely resembles a cigarette, called Voke, was licensed in 2014 to be marketed as an aid to help people stop smoking.

What can you buy in Mosul? ISIS ban on barbers, clothes and toys is lifted

Mosul, Iraq (CNN)In June 2014, ISIS drove Iraqi forces out of Mosul, and took control of the vibrant city of 2.5 million people located on the River Tigris. It was one of the terror group’s most strategic wins.

In the brutal months that followed, Iraq’s second-largest city transformed into a wasteland. Buildings collapsed, residents fled and many innocent lives perished.
In addition to the humanitarian crisis taking place, an economic crisis also loomed.

      Drone footage shows Mosul’s devastation

    Many shops under the terror group’s new laws were deemed beyond the pale. Liquor stores, barbers and even toy shops were closed down.
    Others were shelled to pieces.
    Then in October 2016, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the mission to retake the key city. For the next 9 months, the battle for Mosul raged.
    In July this year, al-Abadi declared Mosul free from ISIS.
    As Iraqis celebrated, many shopkeepers began reopening their stores.
    CNN spoke to shop owners who are back in business about their experiences during and after the ISIS occupation.

    Dakheel Amir — liquor

    When ISIS captured Mosul, Dakheel Amir, aged 37, says he fled 45 kilometers north of the city to his birthplace, Shekhan District,and left his liquor store behind. Selling or consuming liquor under ISIS rule was illegal.
    Before the city fell, Amir says beer, whiskey, vodka and the Levantine spirit, arak, were his best sellers. Although the majority of people in Mosul are Sunni Muslim, who don’t consume alcohol, there are also large communities of Christians and Yazidis, such as Amir, who do.
    After Mosul was recaptured, Amir returned to rebuild a tiny new shop, his old one having burned down, in the western part of the city.
    “The sales figures are high and maybe even better than they ever were before,” he says. “But there is always a sense of fear from the unknown.”
    As such, he has installed an iron gate at the front of the shop to protect himself from an attack. Even though the city has been liberated, he says he will always remain fearful. He didn’t want his store photographed for this article for security reasons.

    Abdullah Risan — women’s clothing

    Trying to run a women’s clothing store under ISIS was difficult, to say the least, admits Abdullah Risan, aged 40.
    “Most of the clothes we sold were considered forbidden during the terrorist era,” he says. “Except for Islamic fashion, which is nothing more than a mere black cloth.”
    He used to sell women’s underwear, dresses, skirts and jeans. But once ISIS took over, Risan had to dispose of his stock.
    The group only permitted him to sell clothing that covered a woman’s entire body from head to toe, including hands and feet. The garments had to be plain black without any inscriptions, he says.
    It was even forbidden for Risan to use mannequins to display his clothes. And during some periods, men were prevented from selling women’s underwear — these items became limited to shops run by women, which men could not enter.
    Risan says his store, located in the popular shopping area of Nabi Yunus market, is now flourishing.
    “Today, life has gone back to normal in many ways,” he says. “We offer whatever we want publicly without fear.”

    Sarmad Habib — CDs

    Sarmad Habib, aged 32, had only just started selling music and movie CDs when ISIS entered Mosul.
    Once the city was captured, the terror group declared music and singing forbidden, saying the sounds represented forms of summoning the devil.
    Instead of shutting his store down, Habib transformed it into a cafe. ISIS attacks, however, eventually reduced it to rubble.
    Although at that point, it seemed to Habib that he had lost everything, right now he is hopeful.
    “With the liberation of the city, I was able to re-open my CD shop with the latest music,” he says. “Now I sell the most modern and distinctive movies, and there is a strong demand for it.”

    Issam Rabie — cellphones and electronics

    Issam Rabie, aged 29, sells what he considers to be the most vital products in Mosul — cellphones and SIM cards.
    “Some people work for months just to purchase a smart phone and enjoy its features,” he says. “And yet selling smart phones was completely banned during ISIS’s rule.”
    The group cracked down on smartphones, Rabie says, because they didn’t want citizens filming and photographing what was happening in Mosul.
    If someone was caught with a smartphone, its owner and the device would get taken away, he says.
    Consequently, many people downgraded to a regular cellphone that could only make calls and send text messages. But even then, he says you could still get fined for using a phone in public.
    After ISIS’ departure, demand for smartphones has soared, and Rabie says his shop in the Al-Samah neighborhood is booming.

    Abu Ali — cigarettes and shisha

    Smoking shisha or cigarettes was forbidden in public or private under ISIS.
    Abu Ali, aged 57, says when the group entered Mosul, he had one month to get rid of his stock. But his shop wasn’t the only way to make a profit, as the desire to smoke was high in Mosul.
    “The beauty of the situation was that many ISIS members were smokers,” he says. “So when cigarettes became scarce after the ban, they contacted undercover distributors.”
    Now, the public selling of cigarettes is lawful again and Abu Ali says his shop, located in the Nabi Yunus market, sells the most luxurious brands.

    Hassan Ali — toys

    Under ISIS rule, the sale of any toys that resembled humans or animals was banned — a toy that mirrored a figure was seen as a material personification of the image of God.
    Hassan Ali, aged 27, owned a toy store in the Al-Muthanna district. He tells CNN that in addition to figured toys, he was also prohibited from selling musical toys.
    “During this period, I suffered heavy losses,” Ali says. “Many of us were forced to shut down our shops or sell other unprofitable products.”
    A few months after ISIS’s departure, Ali says demand for children’s toys is high as a result of the repression children suffered during the occupation, and the limitations they had on possessing toys other than swords or cars.

    Abu Ahmad — barber

    Barber shops for women were completely banned under ISIS law. Barber shops for men, however, could operate — but only within specific rules.
    “We were not allowed to design different or weird-looking hairstyles,” Abu Ahmad says. “The most important one that we had to stay away from was the faux hawk.”
    Furthermore, Abu Ahmad and other barbers were prohibited from cutting beards, allowing customers to grow mustaches, threading facial hair, dying hair and using face cleansers.
    Abu Ahmad’s store shut down at the beginning of the occupation, but is now back in business in the Al-Khadraa neighborhood.
    “The profits from this little shop is what I used to provide for my children,” he says. “After I shut it down, I found a way to escape Mosul and I have only returned a month ago.
    “For more than two years, Mosul lost all its natural features with the presence of ISIS. We only saw darkness during the night and during the day.”
    Now that the city is liberated, Abu Ahmad says life is finally back to normal.