E Cig Summit Summary
Both sides of the argument were well represented at the summit held on 12th November in London but everyone agreed that ecigarettes are almost certainly better than tobacco cigarettes, but the main debate was on whether e-cigarettes should be regulated as a medicine or not. Some felt that ecigarettes should be limited to existing smokers only.
One subject that caused huge debate was whether electronic cigarettes normalise smoking and act as a gateway to tobacco smoking. It was pointed out that you are not going to stop young people from trying drugs like nicotine, but ecigarettes would be a better alternative than smoking and that the amount of lives saved would more than justify a few new nicotine users.
Another debate regarding the regulation of ecigarettes would be the loss of competition and innovation in the industry. This would lead to a decrease in variety, boring branding, increased cost and reduced appeal and would mean the loss of many trusted brands, which would see many vapers returning to cigarettes and fewer smokers switching to them. The MHRA do not seem to understand the industry and see the electronic cigarette as a nicotine delivery device, but it is far more than that to most vapers.
One possible compromise to the argument discussed is that some devices are regulated so this would reassure users buying them and allow those who wish to market them using medicinal claims to do so whilst leaving existing companies alone if they wish to market their product as a recreational device, this would still encourage innovation.
This compromise would please consumers, the industry and even the European parliament, but the total medical regulation proposed by the MHRA seems more of a grab for power than about health.
Well done to e-cigarette-forum for organising this event.