E-cigs face either ad or medicinal restrictions

The UK’s electronic cigarette industry has moved to allay fears that the nascent market for e-cigs will be stymied within two years as a result of new European legislation.

The Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) is furious after the European Parliament last week approved a number of major restrictions on the sale and marketing of e-cigs in the final version of the EU tobacco Products Directive this week.

As it now stands the few e-cigarettes currently available with a nicotine concentration of less than 20mg will avoid regulation as medicines - but they will be hampered by their classification as tobacco products, thus barring them from advertising.

Conversely, stronger e-cigs, which must be registered as medicines, will be allowed to advertise, although the ads will have to focus on their function as an aid to quitting smoking.

The ECITA’s Katherine Devlin promised it would be “business as usual for e-cigarettes.” “The directive could not be challenged until the implementation stage in 2016, but it would prove unworkable and the industry will fight it,” she added.

Vapestick founder and president international Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation Michael Clapper added that the EU’s interpretation was nonsensical and missed the point. “The proposed imposition of advertising restrictions on e-cigs will be counter-productive, if the true goal really is for harm reduction. If the many and varied benefits of e-cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes cannot continue to be shouted from the rooftops from 2016 onwards, then those adult smokers who had not yet made the switch might never be encouraged to do so, which would only be to the detriment of public health, and to the levels of growth the industry is now seeing.”

Vapouriz MD Brett Horth added: “I feel this is effectively an outright ban on all electronic cigarettes as they currently are. Although the latest ruling is a setback for vapours, it is far from over and there will be appeals and I’m confident common sense will prevail.”