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The UK has long been among the world’s leaders in tobacco harm reduction, and for years the country’s health authorities have endorsed the use of vapes to quit smoking. So when the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced on October 29 that it would create updated regulations, clearing the way for licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed to smokers by the National Health Service (NHS), it made international headlines.

And why not make them available on the NHS? The key advantage is that vapes are more effective for quitting smoking than traditional nicotine-replacement products [...]