UK to regulate e-cigarettes as medicine

2013-06-12 20:40
E-cigarette <a href=\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\>Shuttertstock</a>

E-cigarette Shuttertstock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Britain is to regulate electronic cigarettes as non-prescription medicines from 2016 in an attempt to improve quality, though the country's drugs watchdog said they would still be sold in convenience stores.

Healthcare authorities around the world are grappling with how to deal with the battery-driven devices, which allow users to inhale nicotine-laced vapour and are increasingly popular as an apparently less harmful alternative to smoking.

A few countries have banned them outright - such as Brazil, Norway and Singapore - while others are opting for varying degrees of regulation, in some cases including limits on advertising and curbs on their use in public places.

Sales of e-cigarettes have boomed in recent years, prompted in part by restrictions on smoking. But their long-term effects are as yet unproven and some doctors argue their popularity could undermine anti-smoking efforts.

They could also affect sales of regulated nicotine-replacement products, such as patches, sold by drugmakers like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

Under the new British system, manufacturers will have to prove the quality of their products and demonstrate that they deliver the correct amount of nicotine. But they will not need to conduct clinical trials.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said on Wednesday that existing e-cigarettes on the market were not good enough, with contaminants found in some products and nicotine levels often varying widely.

However, manufacturers will have time to raise their game and apply for a licence, allowing them to sell regulated devices as over-the-counter products in a wide range of retail outlets from 2016.

A growing number of established tobacco companies are investing in the e-cigarette market worldwide, including Lorillard, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Reynolds American and Altria.

Proportionate to risk

They are competing against a plethora of smaller private firms, all of which see a growing sales opportunity. Research indicates that around 1.3 million people currently use e-cigarettes in Britain alone, up from 700 000 a year ago.

Jeremy Mean of the MHRA said the government had decided against banning existing poor-quality e-cigarettes, even though they did not meet desired safety and standards, since this could tip some people back into smoking.

"Smoking is the riskiest thing you can do and we want to enable people to cut down and quit. We don't think a ban is proportionate to the risk, when the alternative is people continuing to smoke," he told reporters.

Britain's chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said smokers were harmed by tar and toxins in tobacco smoke, not nicotine, so it made sense to ensure e-cigarettes were properly regulated, as already happens with nicotine patches and gums.

The new approach could be a boon for those companies that successfully secure a licence, since licensed e-cigarettes will be able to carry smoking-cessation claims and could be prescribed by doctors to help smokers quit.

Mead said there were likely to be fewer products of higher quality on the market from 2016, when pan-European regulations on e-cigarettes are also due to come into effect.

Adrian Everett, chief executive of E-Lites, Britain's biggest seller of e-cigarettes, said his company was well-placed to meet the new regulatory standards but he cautioned against excessively tight rules that could reduce customer choice.

"It would be a significant public health loss if electronic cigarettes were made less available to purchase or less available to use during the transition from a consumer product to a medicinal product," he said.

Read more on:    uk  |  health  |  cancer
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to combine imagination, information and creativity together. Try not to over rationalise things and rather...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.