MEP’s have officially voted against the proposal to subject e-cigarettes to the same regulatory standards as medicines. The vote took place on 8th October and was closely watched by business analysts who now believe this decision will lead to an increase in sales of the items. According to FT.com some experts believe that electronic cigarettes will overtake the traditional variety within the decade.
This is all exciting news for the manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, as it means they are spared the potentially costly process of certification. Instead the vote means that electronic cigarettes will be treated in much the same way as traditional tobacco cigarettes; meaning a minimum purchase age of 18 and tight restrictions on advertising and sponsorship. This now means that electronic cigarette companies will be heavily reliant on word of mouth for their advertising, which, for a burgeoning industry, may be a bad thing.
Despite the restrictions placed on electronic cigarettes, there was worse news for tobacco cigarettes. The MEPs voted to impose warning labels that cover 65% of cigarette packs, something that did not go down well with cigarette manufacturers. They also voted for a ban on menthol cigarettes by 2022, and to ban packs of 10 cigarettes as they believe these are gimmicky and aimed at a younger audience. This ban does not extend to the flavours produced by electronic cigarette manufacturers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
So what does all this mean to an existing e-cigarette smoker, or someone who intends to use them as an aid to stop smoking?
If they were to be regulated as medicines, such as in New Zealand, it would mean you could only purchase them in pharmacies. There are still plans to license electronic cigarettes as a medicine in the UK from 2016, although this may change with the new regulations voted in by the EU.
As it stands now, the only changes you may notice is that electronic cigarettes will not be as obvious in shops or advertised on television.
There have been few studies into the effects of electronic cigarettes on a person’s health due to the short amount of time they have available on general sale. But what has been found so far is that the effects on the body are comparable to those of a nicotine patch.
If you were already purchasing e-cigarettes you may discover that you have to buy them like you were buying traditional cigarettes. If you decide to take them up now, it won’t have too much of an effect as buying them as you do now is all you will know.
It is unlikely that existing consumers will be put off by the changes to the way they have to buy their electronic cigarettes, but it may have an effect on the industry.
WHAT ABOUT THE EFFECT ON THE INDUSTRY?
The smoking of traditional cigarettes is falling in most rich countries, as the smoking of electronic cigarettes rises. It is estimated that in Europe there are around 7m users of electronic cigarettes, with this only expected to rise exponentially over the next decade. Although there are no current regulations on the ingredients of electronic cigarettes, it is generally accepted that they are better for you than smoking traditional cigarettes.
The hope is that with more rulings that favour electronic cigarettes over traditional tobacco, tobacco companies will lose a lot of the power they have over economies.
To find out more about electronic cigarettes and whether they could help you, visit SmartCigs.
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