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    8 Reasons Why E-Cigarettes Should Not Be Regulated As Medicines

    The EU is currently deciding how best to regulate e-cigarettes. Opinion is divided, with many public health organisations and most national governments pushing for the regulation of e-cigarettes as medicinal products, while consumers, manufacturers, along with some doctors and public health experts are asking for a less stringent approach. The European Parliament also voted against medicines regulation. Here is why we need to avoid the over-regulation of e-cigarettes through medicines licensing:

    1. E-cigarettes are unquestionably far less harmful than tobacco cigarettes

    E-cigarettes do not contain the hundreds of cancer causing substances inhaled when smoking tobacco. Scientists believe that if all the world's smokers were to switch to e-cigarettes overnight, millions of lives would be saved.

    2. E-cigarettes help people who want to quit tobacco / Via European Parliament Library

    E-cigarettes are different to traditional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as patches and gums, in that they not only provide the smoker with the nicotine they crave, but many users enjoy the "vaping" experience. Some people use e-cigarettes to quit tobacco and gradually reduce their nicotine habit, while many others quit tobacco but continue to vape.

    Studies by the anti-smoking charity ASH show that e-cigarettes are used by current or former smokers, and that non-smokers do not take up vaping.

    3. Medicines regulation is too burdensome, costly and restrictive for small businesses

    Currently, many e-cigarette manufacturers are small and medium size companies, which would be unable to manage the costs and complexity of obtaining a medicines license. Such costs would most likely force these companies from the market, stifle innovation and limit the choice available to consumers.

    4. The democratically elected European Parliament has voted against regulating e-cigarettes as medicines


    On 8th October the European Parliament voted decisively against regulating e-cigarettes as medicinal products. MEPs instead adopted an amendment tabled by the Liberal Group which calls for a much lighter approach while still guaranteeing essential safeguards.

    5. Medicines regulation would seriously limit the availability of e-cigarettes in many EU countries

    Medicines regulation would mean that, in roughly two thirds of the EU's 28 countries, e-cigarettes would be harder to get hold of than tobacco products. Availability would be most seriously limited in countries such as France where medicinal products may only be sold in pharmacies.

    6. Is it even legal?


    Courts in a number of EU countries have ruled that e-cigarettes cannot be considered as medicines, including in the Netherlands, Estonia, and Sweden and in several of the German federal states.

    7. Just who is pushing so hard for medicinal regulation?

    Support for e-cigarettes as medicines comes mainly from two business groups: the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture nicotine replacement therapies and the tobacco manufacturers who make conventional cigarettes. Both may have commercial reasons for seeking to medicalise e-cigarettes.

    8. There are better ways to regulate

    E-cigarettes need to be regulated appropriately, but this can be done without resorting to medicines legislation. The EU can use existing consumer and product safety legislation to enforce safety standards; bring in minimum age requirements; regulate advertising, and impose health warnings about the addictiveness of nicotine. If e-cigarettes end up being regulated as medicines, this decision will be very hard to overturn.