The Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency has made it clear that electronic cigarettes will be regulated like medicines within the U.K. Many countries around the world are still in the process of creating regulations for e-cigarettes but few have come to a conclusion as quickly as Britain. This new regulation will help to further limit access to electronic cigarettes to minors. It also gives smokers a new hope in the battle against their smoking addicition.
“While it’s best to quit completely, I realize that not every smoker can and it is much better to get nicotine from safer sources such as nicotine replacement therapy,” explained Britain’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies. “It’s only right [e-cigarettes] are properly regulated to be safe and work effectively.”
The U.K. is not the only European country working on drafting electronic cigarette regulations. France has also been working on e-cig regulations of its own. At the moment officials in France are urging for a crackdown on smokeless cigarettes in public. Vaping in public spaces has caused many controversies around the world as smokers and non-smokers attempt to come to terms with e-cigarettes. Whether or not other nations in the E.U. will adopt this policy is still unclear.
Smoking kills over 800,000 people in the U.K. each year and is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths. Davies believes smokeless cigarettes can help to cut down these numbers significantly. The regulation of smokeless devices can also help the government keep a tighter reign on e-cig companies, ensuring that electronic cigarettes continue to use quality ingredients that don’t have a detrimental effect on smokers. Going cold turkey may not be an option for many smokers but perhaps these new regulations will garner more support for e-cigs to be used as smoking cessation devices.
Tobacco cigarettes will still be classified as tobacco products and not medical devices.
Not all e-cig users are happy with the new classification of electronic cigarettes in the U.K. Some electronic cigarette suppliers worry that the new classification will hinder sales and limit the availability of e-cigs for smokers. Distribution of electronic cigarettes will certainly be influenced by the changing regulations on e-cigs but many believe it will help maintain or even raise the quality of vapor cigarettes. The new regulations could also increase the price of electronic cigarettes in the U.K. but not significantly.