Rebecca Taylor MEP writes…Electronic Cigarettes: No smoke, but lots of fiery debate

You may have heard rumblings that “the EU wants to ban electronic cigarettes”. This is not entirely true; the new EU tobacco directive proposes regulating electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) under medicines legislation and there is fiery debate as to whether this is appropriate.
During the last few years e-cigarettes, devices resembling a cigarette or a pen/torch which enable the inhalation of nicotine containing vapour, have sprung up across Europe including in the UK.
Many e-cigarette users call their habit “vaping” and some prefer to call their devices “personal vaporisers” or PVs. E-cigarettes use a liquid containing nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco, but do not contain the many other components of tobacco including those which cause cancer.
Public health organisations such as ASH,  the UK anti-smoking charity,  agree that e-cigarettes are a useful harm reduction tool for smokers who want to quit but cannot.
E-cigarettes are currently regulated in a rather disparate fashion under general consumer products legislation and users (I have been cheeky enough to stop people in the street!) tell me that product quality varies significantly. The reputable e-cigarette manufacturers are keen to have high standards of regulation so the poor quality products are driven out of the market.

Tobacco directive

The European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee of which I am a member is currently examining the proposed new EU tobacco directive, which updates tobacco control measures to discourage smoking and reduce smoking related deaths. See the proposal here.

Regulating e-cigarettes

The tobacco directive proposes classifying e-cigarettes containing more than 4mg/ml of nicotine as medicines, thus requiring them to obtain a marketing authorisation either from the European Medicines Agency or more likely from a national medicines agency such as the UK MHRA   like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as patches and chewing gum.
On average, e-cigarettes contain around 18mg/ml of nicotine, so most current e-cigarettes would be regulated as medicines. However, e-cigarette companies and users say that a nicotine level of less than 4mg/ml is too low to satisfy the nicotine cravings of ex-smokers and risks a return to tobacco.
I am not yet convinced that e-cigarettes would be best regulated as medicines, but they do need a robust regulatory regime that will keep good quality products easily available for existing (ex-smoker) users, without making them attractive to new (non-smoker) users, especially young people.
I suggest taking the following into consideration:
• While e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, long term health impacts are not yet fully understood, so generic health warnings (“may damage your health”?) could be appropriate until more precise warnings are possible;
• EU wide standards on the quality and safety of devices and liquids are needed;
E-cigarettes should not be marketed in a way that “renormalises” smoking or broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. This may require a minimum age of purchase, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on certain flavours and restricting advertising near schools, TV adverts except late night, adverts in magazines/websites for young people and e-cigarette use in public places.
A final point is that any regulatory regime would not be introduced overnight, but would instead have a transition period of several years, so there is no danger of products disappearing from one day to the next.
A more detailed version of this article can be read here along with nearly 70 comments mainly from e-cigarette users who are former smokers.

* Rebecca Taylor is the MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

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41 Comments

  • Andrew Emmerson 15th Apr '13 - 9:42am

    I very rarely feel compelled to comment on LDV anymore, but i thought I’d point out an astounding bit of corpratism from RM’s here.

    “The reputable e-cigarette manufacturers are keen to have high standards of regulation so the poor quality products are driven out of the market.”

    What the “high quality” manufacturers are doing is asking the state to favour them to eliminate the bottom end of the market – to drive up their lions share, and provide them with a regulated monopoly on the product. If anyone doesn’t believe states create monopolies, they need look no further than this.

    As for E-Cigarettes themselves – at the minute they’re working just fine in a lightly regulated market – there’s obviously different expenses and qualities out there – the same with just about any product. They’re helping people quitting smoking, they avoid the problems of the smoking ban, and I see very little evidence they “normalise” smoking. The EU should keep their hands off.

  • Simon McGrath 15th Apr '13 - 9:46am

    So just to be clear:
    Its a safe product
    It helps people stop smoking
    “The reputable e-cigarette manufacturers are keen to have high standards of regulation so the poor quality products are driven out of the market” ie large established manufacturers want to use regulation to keep out new entrants to the market.
    There is no evidence that they are harmful at all but we should tell people they “may damage your health”

    This is truly one of the most depressing articles from a Lib Dem I have read on LDV for some time.

  • I cannot honestly believe anyone thinks that e-cigarettes would be attractive to “new (non-smoker) users, especially young people”. Is there any reason whatsoever to think that is the case? I’m yet to encounter the craze of young people covering themselves with nicotine patches either.

  • Foregone Conclusion 15th Apr '13 - 10:02am

    “but they do need a robust regulatory regime that will keep good quality products easily available for existing (ex-smoker) users…”

    Why? People buying normal cigarettes ask for the brand they want. Why can’t the same apply for e-cigarettes without the EU or anybody else intervening? I would consider myself pretty broad-minded on consumer protection legislation, but surely this is a case where the consumer knows best?

  • Lesley Lawless 15th Apr '13 - 10:56am

    I agree that e-cigarettes should not be sold to young people and in the UK at least, although this is not required by law, reputable vendors do not sell to young people or non-smokers.
    All e-cigarette users want to know that products are safe, although current legislation provides for unsafe products to be removed from the market and Trading Standards have the power to prosecute.

    There is no real, independent evidence that young people are attracted to electronic cigarettes unless they are already tobacco smokers. As NRT, which has an approximately 95% failure rate, is authorised to be given to children from age 12 and at least one school in the UK is giving NRT patches to any child aged 12 and over without informing parents or teachers, non-smoking children are using NRT patches in this school as a ‘badge of honour’.
    Medicines regulation allows dangerous substances to be given to children if the risk/benefit equation is thought to make the risk worth the benefit and they do not have the warnings required by law for eliquids.

    Flavours are very important in e-cigarettes, in part because nicotine is virtually odourless and tasteless. People who initially switch tend to prefer tobacco, later they explore the many flavours they can enjoy and avoid tobacco. Personally I would have no objection if some flavours were not permitted as I do not like them, but for other adults candy and bubblegum (for example) flavours are all that keep them from returning to smoking. These flavours were introduced at the request and demand from adult e-cigarette users, not to attract children.

    Legislation that prevented smokers switching, such as reducing nicotine content to a percentage too low to satisfy smokers from switching no matter how many cigarettes they smoke would keep those people smoking and force others back to cigarettes.

    The e-cigarette that looks like a cigarette is 1st generation technology. Many smokers are drawn to them both because they do resemble cigarettes so make the transition easier and because they are the most readily available. However now extremely efficient devices exist that bear no resemblance to cigarettes. Legislation could stifle innovation.

    The threat of banning/medicalising e-cigarettes has caused panic buying and stockpiling the diluted nicotine base used to make eliquids. As nicotine is readily available although not necessarily of the pharmaceutical grade used in e-cigarette liquids this could lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Too much regulation would lead to people extracting their own nicotine, obtaining agricultural, buying on a new black market, if they are desperate not to return to smoking, or just returning to smoking.
    I feel that this addition to the TPD is to protect the interests of pharmaceutical and tobacco companies as well as governments obtaining tax revenue from cigarette sales.
    The only RAPEX report listed that related to eliquids was mislabelling. The rest were electrical faults and missing CE labels.

    You are correct that requiring medical licensing for a consumer product that is not a medicine is the wrong way to go, but the more people learn of e-cigarettes the more smokers will switch. There is a possibility that if General Product Safety is robustly applied and an age limit is placed, that cigarettes could become a thing of the past.
    Of course we do not want children to start vaping instead of smoking, but there is little or no evidence that this happens. Children prefer tobacco. But I, personally, would rather my child used e-cigarettes than real ones. We do know the very real dangers of smoking and all but some flavours have been used in medicines (some for inhalation) for decades.
    Although the WHO states that nicotine is highly addictive we do not yet know if that is the case in humans. All studies on smoking and addiction are based on tobacco and smoking which contains many alkaloids. Many people who switch to e-cigarettes experience some of the withdrawal symptoms of stopping smoking, although they appear to be less severe.

    I believe that the only truly independent and unbiased studies are being performed by Prof. Konstantinos Farsalinos . Several of his papers and studies have been published, another is due to be published shortly and he is conducting further research but, due to lack of funding by pharmaceutical, tobacco or governments (possibly because his reports are completely unbiased) he has had to appeal for donations from the general public.

  • The EU should back off from legislation that brackets a nicotine-only delivery system with tobacco (which delivers nicotine with poisonous and carcinogenic elements).

    Their proposals play into the hands of the tobacco industry and their lobbyists, who love to portray anti-smoking groups as fundamentalists out to stop anything passing the lips of the public that may not be totally beneficial.

    As liberals, we should have no issue with people consuming an element when it harms no-one else but themselves – which is the precise function that e-cigarettes perform, and completely different to actual cigarettes (despite what the tobacco industry shills over at Liberal Vision would have you believe).

    If there is a need to legislate them both, then it should be by means of colour coding so it is obvious from a distance whether a person is consuming an e-cigarette or the real thing. And that’s it.

  • Charlotte Gore 15th Apr '13 - 11:11am

    Having switched to vaporising about 3 years ago, I tend to view it like this: The market has come up with a better way of getting a nicotine fix, using technology, to replace the ancient but incredibly dangerous and dirty burning a leaf approach.

    Right now there’s a huge cottage industry of ex-smokers trying to improve this technology, experimenting, exploring, trying to make the tech work in a way that means they never need to go back to tobacco. It feels like it’s ours, that we’re solving the problem ourselves.

    I think about all the money and effort that’s been wasted trying to get smokers to stop through nagging, terrorising, financial penalties and social ostracism, and I’ve pretty convinced that politicians have nothing useful to add here.

    I’d be very grateful if politicians could sit on their hands and not kill this industry with regulation. Would be nice if Lib Dems agreed.

  • If your going to regulate products like e-cigs and enforce health warnings, then should not the same apply to fast food, alcohol, caffeine and many other products. It is now known that fast food is a contributor to the current obesity problem, and the costs to the NHS and other organisations regarding alcohol abuse.

    I think this TPD is more about protecting the big pharmaceutical companies and the tobacco industry and associated revenues, and nothing to do with public health, it’s more a case of we need to look like we are doing something while actually doing nothing. If the EU was concerned with public health they would not have banned products like Swedish Snus across Europe.

    Yes the ecig industry needs regulation but not by classing it as a medical product when by definition it is not a medical product, which has already been established by several court cases across Europe. If ecigs are medical products then cigarettes should also be medical products as they deliver the same nicotine as the electronic version, the only difference is with burning tobacco in cigarettes no one can control the other harmful chemicals that are produced in the smoke. The current regulatory frame works would do fine for ecigs with some additional guide lines brought in to cover the nicotine liquids, all other aspects are fully covered by current trading standards, CHIP and various other regulations for consumer products.

    Agreed no one yet knows what the long term effects of using electronic cigarettes are but surly common sense tells you that it’s got to be far safer than lit tobacco with the 4000+ chemicals some of which are still unknown but most medical professionals rate as 99% harmless.

  • I dont see any need for EU/Government intervention here, Libdems should oppose it.

  • Joseph Donnelly 15th Apr '13 - 12:10pm

    Got to concur with Mike…I mean maybe there is evidence…but I’m really struggling to see how e-cigatrettes could possibly be seen as cool by young people. Maybe being 21 I’m now out of touch but I would imagine if anything you’d be ridiculed for using an e-cigarette.

  • Richard Mooney 15th Apr '13 - 4:07pm

    Ms. Taylor seems quite reasonable at first, but at the very end of the article she proposes more stringent restrictions on Ecig use than those currently applied in the U.K. to tobacco cigarettes, including a ban on their use in public places (not just “enclosed” ones). Under her proposals this harmless product would be subjected to much stricter controls than those imposed on the biggest causers of premature death in the western world. There is also a proposal, which Ms Taylor refers to but does not appear to support, that Ecigs should have to be licensed as medical devices, which no-one claims them to be. Tobacco cigarettes, obviously, do not require such licensing.

  • david goerlitz 15th Apr '13 - 4:43pm

    The insanity surroundig this controversy is laughable.. This product should be made available with all the commonsense that is already being used by most of the e-cig mfgs. and / distributors. No sales to minors..(actually 36 % of teens alreay smoke and get access to regular smokes). Stop believing that teens will use this product when they easilly are able to buy illegally. Whether or not you believe we have made a dent in teen smoking, that too is laughable. Tobacco Control has failed miserably, so this is just feel good nonsense to create the illusion that they still matter. The lies, hypocrisy, cherry picking of false and junk science to support their “mission statement” is still alive and well and the general public is drinking the “kool Aid”. The Anti-tobacco movement that I was involved in for 20 years or so is one of the biggest hoaxes foisted on citizens on all sides of the pond. The EU and the U.S share these lies and use them to keep the coffers filled with the $ monies they generate all the while pretending to create the illusion they really care. If ever, I heard the Antis show any real compassion for tobacco users and/or those who wish to curtail or quit their use of tobacco you would not hear a peep out of me. On the other hand, the e-cig has never been shown to be harmful, but IMHO I believe it should be used ina a way that is proportionate to what the outcome of its users expect. If you want to cutdown, use it. If you want to quit, use it. The public needs to see the benefits and I hope ther is a way that we can get the word out so this can be an accepted option for those who want it. There is no controversy other than the lies being told by the Anti’s and they should be ashamed of themselves. Former Winston Man

  • Martin O'Brien 15th Apr '13 - 8:40pm

    This does not help the nagging fears i hold for e-cigs. Without question e-cigs are the way forward for smokers, as an aid for those who wish to quit or as a substitute for those who wish to find a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. Health wise they are far safer than smoking tobacco and do not affect non users passively, the two main arguments put forward by anti smokers for the restriction or outright banning of tobacco.
    As as been pointed out, tobacco not being classed as a medicine, so it seems preposterous that e-cigs should be classed as one.
    I feel there are certain groups who despite the obvious advantages of e-cigs would want them banned or restricted severely.
    Firstly there people out there who just have a psychological aversion to the act of, or anything resembling smoking, full stop. Secondly there is the vested interest of other smoking alternative manufacturers(Nicotine patches, sprays, etc.) E-cigs area relatively new invention, and as such i certainly agree that they are monitored and subjected to normal the safety(Including health, as any product being sold to the public) and trading standards. I am also worried that the government may tax e-cigs in the same extortionate way as tobacco(Under the banner of good causes of course) as a way to recoup loss revenues due to falling tobacco sales.

  • Richard Mooney 15th Apr '13 - 10:53pm

    You’ve missed the main vested interest Martin, Big Tobacco, which stands to lose billions, if not trillions! On the question of taxation, even a 100% levy would still leave Ecigs more than 90% cheaper than real cigs and anything more would be very hard to justify as it would amount to an encouragement to smoke tobacco. On health grounds it would make more sense to tax red meat or dairy products or cream cakes or (dare I say it?) pasties.
    3 minutes ago · Like

  • Richard Mooney 15th Apr '13 - 11:15pm

    Posted by Martin O’Brien:-
    This does not help the nagging fears i hold for e-cigs. Without question e-cigs are the way forward for smokers, as an aid for those who wish to quit or as a substitute for those who wish to find a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. Health wise they are far safer than smoking tobacco and do not affect non users passively, the two main arguments put forward by anti smokers for the restriction or outright banning of tobacco.
    Dick is right about tobacco not being classed as a medicine, so it seems preposterous that liquid nicotine should be classed as one.
    I feel there are certain groups who despite the obvious advantages of e-cigs would want them banned or restricted severely.
    Firstly there people out there who just have a psychological aversion to the act of, or anything resembling smoking, full stop. Secondly there is the vested interest of other smoking alternative manufacturers(Nicotine patches, sprays, etc.) E-cigs are relatively new invention, and as such i certainly agree that they are monitored and subjected tothe normal safety(Including health, as any product being sold to the public) and trading standards. I am also worried that the government may tax e-cigs in the same extortionate way as tobacco(Under the banner of good causes of course) as a way to recoup loss revenues due to falling tobacco sales.

  • Arthur Graves 16th Apr '13 - 2:34am

    I am diabetic. Can someone please regulate which sugars can and can’t be sold. There are some very harmful sugars out there such as sucrose, fructose, table sugar and corn syrup. These are causing untold misery and costing health services and governments right around the world, not just in Europe, billions of pounds/euro’s/dollars, every year. Please, please, please, bring in some kind of meaningful control on these hazardous substances. They can and do kill.

  • ” users (I have been cheeky enough to stop people in the street!) tell me that product quality varies significantly.”

    Rather like sandwiches, shoes or clothes. As a consumer I can choose to see where sells good quality products and stop buying from the bad ones. Simples.

    How, exactly, is this a European issue again?

  • Alex Macfie 16th Apr '13 - 7:16am

    Regulation of e-cigs is legitimately a “European” issue: the EU is a single market, which means among other things common rules and laws for the sale and marketing of products. However, this is separate from the *type* of regulation that should be applied, and on this matter I favour a light-touch approach. I don’t see the need for health warnings, or restrictions on use, but an minimum age might be appropriate. They certainly should not be regulated as medicines.

  • erwan thomas 21st Apr '13 - 8:32pm

    sorry for my english but in france we are tracking this page too.

    limiting the flavors would simply kill the ecig,

    because it’s all about taste and it’s phisiological. you get depressed if you eat always the same food, the same taste.

    if you look into forums you will see that people get bored with flavors and like to change and what please some doesn’t work with others.

    variety is what makes people not going back to ecig. it’s the main pillar once you have find the harware that suits you.

    for example I started with tobbacco flavours and couldn’t stand fruits. one week later I was only on fruit and couldn’t stand tobaccos.

    you can also mix your liquid you can do do the taste you like.

    then you have several juices and at different time of the day you can ask yourself which liquid do I want? WHAT WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY? and this is a question you ask yourself many times a day when you are vaping.
    you, personnaly, how many time in a day do you ask yourself this question?

    then they are complex liquids like those by alien vision, halo, redwood, alice in vapeland. those are not mono aroma but artfully crafted liquids.sometimes rare ones. those are in a complete different league, and are the type of liquids I’m looking after, just for the love of discovering new tastes, new blends.
    not to mention that these company are very profitable and many more companies could birth in the future, a bit like restaurant or wine, so economically this is also very good. lots of growth to expect in this sector.

    so variety of flavors are a big part of the ecig. looking after new flavors is part of the ecig. stopping that will kill the ecig efficiency .

    regards

  • George Carpenter 21st Apr '13 - 8:55pm

    Ecigs are not harmful, it depends on the dose of nicotine. Lib Dems should oppose excessive regulation that protects no one apart from big corporations. LD are not there for the benefit of big business, the tories are good enough at that.
    Normal tobacco isn’t regulated as a medicine, fast food isn’t regulated as a medicine, both of which are far more harmful than ecigs. It’s a safe alternative that should be encouraged.

  • Richard Mooney 22nd Apr '13 - 3:40pm

    @Rebecca Taylor: Thank you for your response, which I find in general encouragingly reasonable. The one point I would take issue with is on he harmlessness of nicotine. You are right to point to the raising of blood pressure as an issue, but that must be balanced against the possible health benefits (the scientists’ jury is still out on some of this). Nicotine is known to have analgaesic and anti-inflamatory properties and some studies have suggested that it can also delay, slow, halt or even reverse the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It is quite possible that on balance nicotine will prove to be beneficial to health.

  • Caroline Cooper 22nd Apr '13 - 5:18pm

    @Rebecca Taylor – I read with great interest your comment to Mr O’Brien above -’I have not heard so much as a rumour regarding taxation of e-cigs and I don’t expect I will.’ For the avoidance of any doubt in my mind can you confirm that you really do not anticipate any attempt from any quarter to levy addition taxation in any form on vaping (the use of personal vapourisers aka e cigarettes)?
    @erwan Thomas – you have no need to apologise for your command of English – your post is excellent and thank you for bringing a breath of French je ne sais quoi to this debate – I refer to your comment ‘……. but artfully crafted liquids .sometimes rare ones. those are in a complete different league, and are the type of liquids I’m looking after, just for the love of discovering new tastes, new blends….’ Wonderful!

  • Martin O'Brien 22nd Apr '13 - 6:59pm

    @Rebecca.: Thank you for taking time to reply to my email.
    I am pleased that at present there are no plans for increased taxation of ecigs, but would wonder if that would be the continued case should ecigs increase in popularity. The main point of my email was the about the advantages of ecigs and their benefits, and hope that mine and other peoples comments have helped in highlighting this. I feel at many levels(Government included) there is a great deal of ignorance about them, hence the continued association between tobacco and ecigs , the fear being , ecigs being banned or marginalised much as tobacco has become, which i feel would be a tradgedy.

  • Russell Brown 9th May '13 - 5:17am

    This is proof the EU is corrupt, my mother was a smoker for 50 years and it was only ecigs that helped her stop. This is all about the corporate lobbyists in Brussels, the big pharma and tobacco industry using the State to rig the market. No wonder UKIP are doing so well.

  • Peter Fournier 21st May '13 - 3:28am

    In your article you say we must not do anything that “renormalises” smoking”.

    But, ecigarette use does not equal smoking. There are no second hand smoke problems, they are inherently 100′s of times safer for the user than smoking tobacco etc.

    Given those facts, what is the problem with normalizing ecigarettes? Sure, de-normalize tobacco cigarettes! But by what logic have we all seemed to agree that normalizing e-cigarettes is a good thing?

    It seems to me that if the goal is to rid the planet of tobacco cigarette, normalizing the ecigarette is exactly what you would want to do. If we did then anti-tobacco-smoking people could point to the ecigarette and tell the smoker to use an ecigarette. That is of course possible only if e-cigarettes are normalized in society.

    I think we have an opportunity of completely eliminating the smoking of tobacco. The EU should be encouraging the use of e-cigarettes, not proposing heavy handed regultion.

    If ecigarettes were normalized then the e-cigarette people would get on board as well as the the anti-tobacco crowd. Then the only people resisting an outright ban on tobacco cigarettes would be one or two percent of the people that still smoked and the anti-smoking crowd who haven’t been able to see a distinction between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes.

    You might wonder why I predict the anti-smoking crowd would resist a ban on tobacco cigarettes. The reason is very simple and obvious I think: they would resist anything that did not outright ban everything that even looked like a cigarette or that contained nicotine. In other words their thinking would force them to resist the ban if it did not include e-cigarettes.

    More generally I am curious to know what the problem is exactly with nicotine being somewhat addictive? So is caffeine, fats of all kinds, sugar, and on and on and on. Is there a difference between these other substances and nicotine, absent the combustion of tobacco? A difference large enough to justify more regulation?

  • Erika Stroem 23rd May '13 - 10:32pm

    Possibly another way that the pharmaceutical companies who make those stupid non-working smoking aids to cash in on supplying e-cigarettes themselves….another greed and dictatorial aspect of monopolising the market….. IMO they are paying Doctor surgeries to use their goods, by bullying people people to stop smoking, so they can use their products. I want to buy my items where I want to and not have to go to the doctors to get them…

  • angela warriner 27th May '13 - 9:52am

    I personally using a photon with nicotine oil and been stoped smoking real cigs for 6 months now .. but i think that all ecigs should be sold has a medicine with advice from pharmicists etc on hand .. these people selling them are making a massive profit and thats what it’s really all about . in a chemist you would be asked about your health in general and also about any medications that you are currently taking .
    i think the ecigs are a amazing invention and pray they dont ban them for good because it’s been the only way for me to actually give up real cigs .

  • Georgina Burns 3rd Jun '13 - 12:55pm

    I just heard about this Eu interference today and am in disbelief. I can’t really add much to the intelligent, thoughtful comments already written but I’ll try. Electric cigarettes have been such a huge help for me. They have allowed me to save a huge amount of money with a safer and healthier alternative to cigarettes. The result of this interference would be lots more people back on real cigarettes with real tar, carbon monoxide etc… but more profits for the tobacco companies of course!

  • Richard Koppe 3rd Jun '13 - 4:05pm

    As a fairly recent ‘convert’ from tobacco cigarettes to e- cigarettes I hit the roof when I heard about a proposed ban. How dare they, especially as it means no action being taken on ‘real’ cigarettes, which despite the unproven harmful ingredients of e-cigs, are surely far worse. Could it be because the Government is concerned about the loss of revenue caused by smokers switching to e-cigs? How about the money saved in not having to treat all those smoking related diseases effectively prevented by smokers switching to e-cigs? Certainly I have felt far better since the switch, not getting out of breath so easily and losing my ‘smokers cough’ entirely.
    Okay, make them strictly over 18 only, ban the child-friendly fruit flavours, even ban their use in public places. Just don’t ban them. Otherwise I for one, having tried all the multifarious methods of giving up smoking and failed, will almost certainly be returning to smoking. As, I fear, will many others. Take this chance, I urge the Government (both National and European) to reduce smoking related diseases and the cost to the taxpayer in treating them. Reject this ban.

  • There’s really nothing to debate. The government is losing revenue from cigarette/tobacco and the next step for the parasites is to heavily tax the vapour refills. There’s no getting around it, in a couple of months the government will impose heavy tax levys on e-cigarettes in order to “balance” the books. Although to be honest there’s been no balancing what so ever since the Blair days.

  • Stephen Owens 15th Jun '13 - 10:28am

    Politics and especially the EU should be ashamed of itself!
    The fact is thousands of people are dying, yes dying in their thousands!!! from cigarette sales and as someone who does not want to die from the carbon monoxide, tar or the 59 cancer causing chemicals found in cigarettes I have the right to prevent my early potential death by switching to electronic cigarettes which contain chemicals used in the food industry plus nicotine which is an addictive stimulant. Legislation is fine but don’t try and take our liberty away by selecting which flavour I should have, make me pay an extortionate prescription fee, force to me the manufacturer of my e juice etc…
    In all truth, should this go in this direction I will guarantee from many people I speak to in the vaping community you will simply drive this completely underground and receive no taxes at all, this will also be a backwards step from the current position of self regulation which by and large works pretty well, except for maybe some market traders.
    If current e liquid shops are allowed to trade with loose guide lines but regular trading standards checks for the quality of their goods this will allow the government to introduce a reasonable taxation scheme.
    Believe me when I say that if regulation become dictatorial then you are going to go the same way as the illegal drugs trade and loose all revenue and all control of safety and quality in addition vapers will loose all faith in the main 3 political parties and watch UKIPS popularity increase to gain power back in UK.
    Wake up and smell the coffee (is this going to prescription only?) this is a very emotive topic and if you push people into a corner, like primeminister Thatcher did on the working class, you might just have riots on your hands in 2016.

  • Ben Stapley 18th Aug '13 - 1:19pm

    @ Rebecca Taylor, Nicotine may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, or raise it temporarily, as does salt, alcohol and caffeine, all of which are available in a supermarket or even a corner shop. We know the dangers of salt yet continue to stuff our kids faces with it. So surely that cant be used as an argument against nicotine. And as someone else has stated, nicotine does provide some beneficial properties. Just google nicotine health benefits. If the E.U over regulates ecigs and the variety of choice disappears many will return to smoking, and anyone who votes for the directive will be guilty of manslaughter as tobacco execs should be already. History will show it to be one of the most mind numbingly stupid things done by a government body.

  • Euan Robertson 3rd Sep '13 - 11:43am

    From 40 Sterling Cigarettes to 10ml of e-juice a week. This ban is nothing more than the government saving pounds not lives it’s blatant and everybody knows it. What could we have possibly expected from the coalition It’s not that the government believes the electric cigarette is unsafe they know for a fact It’s safer than tobacco but 1.3 million people at say £6 a day in lost revenue wow that’s a loss of £7800000 a day of coarse they want to ban it lol. I can only be thankful the EU Referendum is roughly at the same time as this ban as It’s the last nail in the coffin where the EU is on my priority vote gone gone gone!! Although let’s face it the coalition is just as bad but thankfully theirs a general election in 2015 perhaps i won’t be so sad to know the coalition government will be going the same way as the EU 6 feet under!! This is not a question of NRT this is an alternative to something that i enjoy doing and it’s 1000 times safer than the cancer sticks sold everywhere but sadly government & pharmaceutical corruption sparks first but what’s new.

  • Carl Wilson 19th Dec '13 - 8:30am

    This is actually one of the better (non anti E-cigarette) articles I have read.

    As a former smoker and current E-cigarette user I have no issue what so ever with the following.

    1. Regulating the production of e-liquid for safe consumption.
    2. Restricting the sale of such products to adults as with alcohol, organic cigarettes etc.
    3. I’m even happy to adhere to the current “public smoking ban” out of common courtesy.

    What does annoy me somewhat is the “generic health warnings (“may damage your health”?) ” voiced by every single anti e-smoking lobbyist on the planet… What does “generic health warnings (“may damage your health”?) ” actually mean???

    Well here goes.. Using all of the scientific resources/technology available to us today, scientists (anti e-smoking or otherwise) are unable to come up with any valid arguement proving adverse affects (apart from the known affects of nicotine) of inhaling the 4 or 5 ingredients found in e-cigarettes. Can anti e-smokers really use this as a basis for their argument?? Could we instead argue that “may be good for your health”? Probably not but you get my point…

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