Healthcare professionals urged to report side effects of e-cigarettes

Man vaping e-cigarette

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is calling on members of the public and healthcare professionals to report any suspected side effects or safety concerns with e-cigarettes and the e-liquids used for vaping.

The MHRA, which regulates medicines and medical devices in the UK, monitors the safety of healthcare products via the Yellow Card Scheme. It is urging members of the public and healthcare professionals to use this site to report any concerns.

It follows the introduction of new regulations on e-cigarette safety by the Tobacco Directive on 20 May 2017. Under the new rules, the size of an e-cigarette tank should not exceed 2ml and the maximum nicotine strength of liquids is set at 20mg/ml. At least 30% of the front and the back of packaging must contain a health warning saying: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.”

Although the rules contain no specific restrictions on flavours or standard formulations, the MHRA has its own guidance on ingredients that should not be included in e-cigarettes or e-liquids. 

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, says: “There are currently 2.9 million e-cigarette users in Great Britain, over half of whom have quit smoking. E-cigarettes are playing an important role in supporting smokers to switch from tobacco smoking. The new regulations which require notification to the MHRA about the products should give people further confidence in the e-cigarette market. As the market continues to develop we hope to see products go through the more stringent licensing process and become licensed as medicines and available on prescription.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, July 2017;():DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203085

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