Now you can take e-cigarettes for medicinal purposes
Yesterday it was announced that e-cigarettes, non-fatal means of puffing on an addictive substance, are to be reclassified as medical products. Many people welcome this news, as currently there is no regulation on the industry at all, and bring the UK in line with other countries who have already taken this step.
The chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said: "More and more people are using e-cigarettes, so it's only right these products are properly regulated to be safe and work effectively."
The UK is trying to win support for an EU-wide position and it is believed that neighbours like France, Germany and Denmark are likely to take a similar stance. However, there is no indication that the UK will follow France and ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
The new classification is due to be introduced in 2016, and from that point onwards, the advertising of e-cigarettes will also be regulated. No longer will we have adverts ‘glamourising’ e-cigarette use, in the same way that you wouldn’t expect to see a party scene in the middle of Corrie where everyone takes a hit of methodone. Part of the reason behind the change is concerns that widespread images of e-cigarette use will tempt young people into smoking the hard stuff, which is exactly what the tobacco companies (who are all dabbling in the e-cigarette market) were hoping. We’ll probably have to say goodbye to the dancing baby too.
But what that does mean is that we are all likely to be bombarded with e-cigarette adverts between now and then. How else are they going to get brand recognition akin to the red (or gold) triangles, or the purple ribbon unless we are subjected to adverts 24/7. Perhaps people will start buying e-cigarettes even if they don’t smoke, just so they can look cool in front of their friends.
However, supporters of e-cigarettes warn that restricting their use and promotion will mean more people are unable to switch from dangerous cigarettes to warm and friendly e-cigarettes. Although Labour backs the proposals, its public health spokeswoman Diane Abbott warned that "increasing regulation on e-cigarettes while kicking standard packaging for cigarettes into the long grass is a sign the government has caved into the bullying tactics of Big Tobacco and risks sending out the wrong message that e-cigarettes pose a greater threat than smoking."
And the e-cigarette companies themselves can also see the benefits- once reclassified, they will be able to market on health claims and quitting ratios in the way that currently regulated nicotine replacement products can. So it’s good news all round.