Toward the end of last year, The Economic Voice published an article that suggested 2016 could be the year high street vape shops “run out of puff”. Much of this is due to increased pressure from regulatory bodies, who have continually called for stricter laws restricting the sale of e-cigarette products.
The debate continues about the health benefits versus the draw they have on non-smokers, particularly teenagers. As explained on MedicalDaily.com, “E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products…” said lead study author Dr. Tushar Singh of the Office on Smoking and Health. He goes on to say, “The situation is compounded by the fact that e-cigarette online vendors are using social network services to market their products…”
It is the accessibility and limited research in to electronic cigarette products that regulatory bodies are most concerned with. However, new research is calling for the decreasing number of traditional smokers, in wake of the increasing use of ecigs, to be taken into consideration. Limiting the access to such products could in fact have the opposite effect and cause ex-smokers to take up the habit once more.
As experts explain, “Smoking [currently] costs the National Health Service (NHS) approximately £2 billion a year for treating diseases caused by smoking.” Therefore, the reduced strain on the NHS is welcomed. In UK alone there are around 10 million adult smokers, which is about a sixth of the total population! What’s more, surveys show that about two-thirds of current smokers would like to stop smoking. Therefore, ensuring these products remain accessible to those who’re finding them to be a useful aid to quitting smoking should be a priority.
This month ScienceDaily.com published details of a study, whereby David T. Levy and six other top international tobacco control experts reported research in the U.S., Canada and England shows cigarette smoking rates have fallen more in the last two years than they have in the previous four or five years and that this trend has coincided with the increase in e-cigarette use. “While e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to smoking, much of the evidence indicates that e-cigarette use encourages cessation from cigarettes by those people who would have otherwise smoked with or without e-cigarettes,”
The researchers suggest that use of these products can lead to reduced cigarette smoking overall with a potential reduction in deaths from cigarette smoking. Further to this, the BBC reported that, “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde decided back in December to allow restricted use of the devices after new evidence that they help tackle tobacco smoking.” The NHS also list electronic cigarettes as a method of quitting smoking on their site here.
However, the fate of high street vape shops in the UK is likely be tied to the upcoming referendum, which could see the UK leave the EU. Should it stay in the EU, legislation on the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), will look to regulate the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes, which is likely to implement strict laws and restrict the production and sale of these products.
If the industry is to continue to thrive it will need to adjust, adhering to new laws and regulations, but if they practice what they preach they should remain a stable substitute for many who wish to quite traditional methods of smoking. Sites such as AspireCigUK.co.uk for example aim to “… help you kick the habit.” Electronic cigarette companies want to appeal to their customers and be more attractive than traditional smoking while helping people to quit, but they must ensure they provide customers with the right information. Rather than entice, they must inform and support their customers.
This article was written by Anna Morrish, freelance writer and founder of Quibble Content.