February 28, 2013
A new EU directive, which critics claim could threaten the electronic cigarette market with an effective ban on vaping products, has once again revived the debate on just how strictly e-cig and other nicotine products should be regulated as a medicine in the UK.
With UK users of electronic cigarettes expected to reach over 1 million users this year, news articles have poured out into the British press over the last few weeks ranging from sensible discussion from the BBC to sensationalism from the Mail on Sunday.
Principally, the proposed European law requires most non-tobacco nicotine products (including e-cigarettes containing more than 0.4% nicotine) to be treated as medicinal products. The danger here is that the law would require companies and distributors to back up therapeutic effects with evidence – but the rigorous scientific standards could make this massively difficult to achieve, and out of financial reach for a vast majority of e-cig companies. Furthermore, limiting nicotine content to no more than 0.4% would reduce the effectiveness of the device.
Tight Regulation Could Lead To Bans
A common response to this seems to be “What’s the problem? Surely we need regulation on products like electronic cigarettes?” and here at VIP Electronic Cigarettes we definitely agree with that sentiment – regulation is important. The fact is e-cigarettes are already regulated sufficiently under the ‘General Product Safety Directive’. They are not regulated as a medicine because e-cigs are not sold as medical devices.
In the UK, the independent Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) is tasked with providing independent scrutiny of proposed regulatory measures put forward by Government. “The RPC’s role is to review the evidence and analysis supporting new regulatory proposals prior to final Ministerial decisions, to ensure that when Ministers make decisions on proposed new regulations, they do so against the background of a robust, evidence-based policy making process.” The RPC is quite clear in it’s requirements – provide evidence and justification for increased regulation. The RPC advised against further e-cigarette regulation in 2010 and to date, they have not received a final Impact Assessment that abides to the RPC regulation process.
Andy Whitmore, VIP’s marketing director, recently appeared in a BBC News report discussing the safety and regulation. In it, we highlighted the need for enforcement of GPSD regulations, and any further regulation should be limited to ensure two key things – making sure nicotine products like electronic cigarettes are not sold to anyone under the age of 18, confirming the purity of nicotine and e-liquids in such products.
Quality and customer satisfaction are hugely important to us here at VIP, and we always strive to provide nothing short of the highest quality blends, flavours and liquids; when you buy from us, you can be confident that you’re buying a quality product.
While certain regulation is welcomed, any laws that are too strict or harsh on the industry will hinder its growth.
And just why is this important? Well, for one thing the health of UK and EU citizens is on the line. As it stands, healthcare costs in Europe due to smoking cost over £21 billion with the UK accounting for almost one fifth of this expenditure. John Britton, from the Royal College of Physicians, recently stated that if all the smokers in Britain switched to electronic cigarettes then the estimated reduction in deaths could be in the millions.
By suffocating the industry with overly-rigorous clinical trials and testing requirements, this choice for a healthier alternative to smoking is forced off the market – and the statistics simply won’t get better.