E-cigarette manufacturers can apply in the United Kingdom to have their product recognized as a medical aid to help people stop smoking, the British government announced on Friday.

That means doctors can prescribe it to patients and the e-cigarette is subsidized for those patients.

The British medicine watchdog MHRA published a number of guidelines on Friday that manufacturers of e-cigarettes must comply with.

The UK is the first country to reimburse e-cigarettes as medicine.

The UK government cites studies showing that e-cigarettes are more likely to help people quit smoking than nicotine patches or other alternatives.

27.7 percent of e-cigarette users are said to have quit the cigarette, compared to 18.8 percent of users of other alternatives.

In the UK, approved medicines are subsidized through the NHS health service.

Patients pay 9.35 pounds (11.07 euros) and the rest is paid extra by the government.

Those younger than sixteen or older than sixty receive the medicines for free.

The British government emphasizes that e-cigarettes are not recommended for children and non-smokers.

In the Netherlands, e-cigarettes are not reimbursed as a medical means to stop smoking.

The Dutch cabinet even imposes strict rules for the use of electronic cigarettes.

For example, the age limit is eighteen, e-cigarettes are not allowed to be smoked in public places and the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes will soon be banned.

The reasoning for this is that e-cigarettes make it easier for young people to switch to regular cigarettes.

RIVM has already warned that these measures can ensure that fewer people will use e-cigarettes as a tool to quit.