EU Proposals for E Cigarettes Could Harm Public Health

Last week, the planned EU proposals to class e cigarettes & e liquid as medicinal products was strongly contested by users of the devices and manufacturers of e-cigarettes from across Europe. Those protesting the proposals believe the classing of e-cigs as medicinal products could be harmful to public health. Re-classification of electronic cigarettes will raise their price, reduce innovation and limit their availability. In other words, those currently smoking electronic cigarettes could be forced to pay more for the privilege, and quality devices will be harder to come by. This could mean hundreds of people who have turned to e-cigs as an aid to quitting smoking  could be forced to return to smoking tobacco.

What are e cigarettes?

E cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years, and are an alternative to traditional cigarettes, containing nicotine but no tobacco, making them a healthier choice for anyone concerned about the risks of smoking.  You can choose from different flavours and strengths of cartridges, and a variety of styles of e-cig to suit different tastes and budgets, and can even buy refillable cartridges and bottles of e-liquid, which helps regular users of the devices to keep costs down.

New Legislation

Next week, new legislation will be proposed which could replace laws dating back as far as 2001, as parliament tries to reduce the huge number of deaths attributed to smoking tobacco each year.  There’s concern that the long-term health risks of smoking e-cigarettes hasn’t been studied in more detail, and despite claims from e-cig manufacturers and smokers that the devices are safe, posing no risks to health, the jury is still out on this matter.

An Increase in Smokers

It’s worried that the new legislation will be passed, which could mean electronic cigarettes become classified as a medical device. What would this mean for those currently using them as an alternative to tobacco? Higher prices, limited quantities of the device available and harder to come by – that’s what!  The price hikes and new classification of the device could leave many e-cigarette users with no alternative but to return to smoking traditional cigarettes containing tobacco and other toxins – and that’s bad news for the UK’s health services.  More smokers than ever before means rising medical costs for an already under-pressure NHS, so this move by parliament could be disastrous!

The Rise of the E cigarette

Since 2010, manufacturers claim that sales of e-cigs have doubled, with many manufacturers referring to academic research to back claims that the devices are safer than traditional cigarettes for smokers and are taking over a growing share of the market.  They think that the devices have potential to save the lives of millions of smokers across the EU, who, without the electronic cigarette, would be forced to carry on smoking traditional tobacco, leading to heart disease and lung cancer.

Fighting Back

It’s good to see that e-cigarette manufacturers and users are fighting back against the proposals, and with the vote postponed until 8th October, experts will hopefully have time to gather credible evidence to show that e-cigarettes shouldn’t be reclassified as medical devices.

Whether or not e-cigs should be classified as medicinal devices is still very much a topic that’s open for debate, but with the way things stand, there is more evidence to suggest that a move to reclassify e-cigs could be harmful for public health than there is to suggest that the proposal will do any good.

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