FDA faces important decisions on regulation of e-cigarettes
By Martin Banks in Brussels 4:18PM BST 14 Jul 2013 The vote was intended to make tobacco smoking less attractive to young people through mandatory warnings, minimum pack sizes, and rules on flavourings. However, the revision of the EU ‘Tobacco Products Directive’ would classify most e-cigarettes as a medicinal product, despite the fact that in the UK alone 25 percent of all attempts to kick the habit are made using e-cigarettes, making them the most popular aid. The European Commission had proposed that e-cigarettes containing 4 milligrammes or more of nicotine must be classed as medicinal products but an EU parliamentary committee went further, voting to classify all e-cigarettes as pharmaceuticals, regardless of the nicotine content. Users of e-cigarettes (known as vapers) have protested, arguing that through e-cigarettes they were able to kick the tobacco habit.
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Electronic Cigarette Users Unite to Send a Powerful Message to MEPs
More research on e-cigarette vapor including its second-hand effects is required to definitively determine exactly how dangerous it is. The authors proposed several questions around which to base future research: Do low levels of contaminants in e-cigarette vapor pose a health risk? What are the thresholds for toxicity of contaminants in vapor? What should be the basis for product standards for e-cigarettes? Could the risks be ameliorated by changes in engineering? Regulatory concerns go beyond the chemical background of the product.
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I hope that MEPs will vote this week to either remove e-cigarettes completely from the Tobacco Products Directive or that they will ask the Commission to go away and do a lot more research, fund some unbiased studies and come back in two or three years and report on the situation at that time. Policy makers will then have a lot more information at their fingertips to make a decision that is not going to result in 700,000 lives per year being terminated early because MEPs voted to effectively ban e-cigs as they currently are from the market in Europe.” The key health benefit of e-cigarettes is determined by how many smokers switch to them or use them as a staging post to quitting completely. It is therefore vital that e-cigarettes continue to be regulated as a consumer product. Ralf K an e-cigarette user from Germany said, “Many of us have tried numerous times to quit smoking using conventional nicotine replacement therapies and have failed, however with e-cigarettes we have all cut down our smoking or stopped completely.
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