Latest figures suggest that around 1.3 million Britons now smoke e-cigarettes, a 100% increase from 2012. Brands like Truvape have seen the interest and impact of e-cigarettes over recent years. E-cigarettes, which generally look like real cigarettes, contain a rechargeable battery and a liquid solution containing propylene glycol or glycerine (which contains a nicotine dose of varying levels). When heated by the battery, they produce a vapour that can be inhaled. The fact that it is a vapour that is inhaled rather than smoked has led to the verb ‘vaping’ being adopted to describe their use, instead of ‘smoking’
Electronic cigarettes, which some say are a safer alternative to smoking or a first step to quitting, are under fire. E-cigarettes across the globe have been largely unregulated and their growth since they first came on the scene in 2007 has been exponential. Now, in the first big regulatory action that is sure to spur similar responses across the pond, the European Parliament approved rules to ban e-cigarette advertising in the 28 EU member nations beginning in mid-2016. The strong action also requires the products to carry graphic health warnings, and contain no more than 20 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre and set to be licensed and regulated as an aid to quit smoking from 2016.
E-cigarettes are soon to be classed as ‘medicines’, which means they will face stringent checks by medicine regulator the MHRA and doctors will be able to prescribe them to smokers to help them cut down or quit. This move has been widely welcomed by medical experts and officials, as tighter regulation will ensure the products are safe and effective.
Until this happens, e-cigarettes are only covered by general product safety legislation, meaning they can legally be promoted and sold to children, and we cannot be sure of their ingredients or how much nicotine they contain. The MHRA will not ban the products entirely during this interim period, but will encourage e-cigarette manufacturers to apply for a medicine license.