The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has not received any applications for e-cigarettes to be regulated as medicinal products, it has informed this newspaper.
Recently the national clinical effectiveness committee released guidelines to help healthcare professionals assist adults to stop smoking. The guideline development group was chaired by Specialist in Public Health Medicine Dr Paul Kavanagh.
E-cigarettes are mentioned in the guidelines as “consumer products”, but they are not included in the recommendations. Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) last month, Dr Kavanagh said that in other jurisdictions, such as the UK, medicines regulators were “increasingly interested” in taking on a role in regulation of e-cigarettes. He said if the HPRA was to regulate e-cigarettes in the future, the considerations of the guideline development group may be different.
A HPRA spokesperson told MI there had been no authorisations of e-cigarettes as medicinal products in Ireland and no applications had been received to date.
Separately, last month the HSE highlighted that 1,300 referrals had been made to a programme supporting pregnant women in the south-east to quit smoking since it launched in January 2020.
The programme takes referrals of pregnant women (in addition to partners and family members) from the four maternity departments of acute hospitals in the south-east and from primary care and community services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford.
“Nearly half of pregnant women who set a quit date with their stop smoking service go on to quit successfully,” said Ms Kate Cassidy, Health and Wellbeing Officer in the HSE south-east community healthcare services. “No matter what stage you or your partner are at in your pregnancy, it is never too late to stop smoking.”