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The Executive has also indicated that it is awaiting the results of a health technology assessment (HTA) on smoking cessation interventions currently being undertaken by HIQA.
In April MI reported that the redesigned HSE website www.quit.ie did not reference e-cigarettes.
A HSE spokesperson told MI: “While e-cigarettes are a new and potentially helpful addition to the many proven quit supports and products available – the HSE can only endorse products that are proven to be safe and proven to be effective; e-cigarettes have not yet achieved either test.
“The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking completely and to quit for good.”
The HSE also noted that “e-cigarettes can reduce urges to smoke and may help smokers to quit although data in this area are not as robust as those for licensed ‘stop smoking’ medicines.
“However, no e-cigarettes have been approved as a medicine for smoking cessation by the HPRA [Health Products Regulatory Authority] in Ireland; consequently the HSE cannot recommend e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.”
Nevertheless, despite these concerns, the HSE indicated that the matter is being reviewed, with HIQA’s HTA on smoking cessation interventions expected to be finalised in March 2017.
“The HSE is in consultation with other agencies to develop the evidence-base in this area and is keeping emerging evidence under review,” commented the HSE’s spokesperson.