MHRA Electronic Cigarette Decision Good News for UK Vapers
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by: James Dunworth

On non-smoking day (or double-up smoking day, depending on your preference) electronic cigarette users have reason to celebrate.

Vapers have reason to celebrate this year's no smoking day.

In an extremely positive piece of news for the UK electronic cigarette industry the UK Medicines and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have announced what they are going to do about the electronic cigarette.

Nothing.

At least for now.

Let’s rewind, though, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about.

MHRA Consultation

At the start of the year the MHRA held a consultation on electronic cigarettes. They announced they intended to do one of three things:

1. Give companies 21 days to obtain medical licensing.
2. Give companies 2 years to obtain medical licensing.
3. Do nothing.

BUT – in their consultation document the MHRA said option 3 was not an option.

AND:

– a leaked email revealed that medical licensing would be difficult and expensive – and would force most e-cig companies out of business:

“The outcome will be that of a date (yet to be announced) there will be a 21 days period and then these products will be outright banned in the UK, unless the traders apply for certification as a medical device from the MHRA. This process could be costly and expensive so it is expected that many traders will cease trading.”

Leaked MHRA Letter

Now, though, the option that was not an option is the option being taken!

Mr Mean explained that the MHRA has decided to adopt option 3, do nothing, with a view to undertaking more research over the next 18 months.

ECITA press release on UK Vapers

(Electronic cigarettes remain regulated, of course, but it is Trading Standards who are doing the regulation and not the MHRA!)

Why the change of heart?

I’d like to put it down to enouraging research, support from scientists and surveys (both our surveys and one from CASSA that suggest more than 60% of e-cigarette users would return to cigarettes if e-cigs were banned) and the criticism they received from a UK policy body.

However, I think it is more to do with a change of government and a loss of enthusiastic support from the previous government. (Especially as, prior to the election, when we brought a THR expert over the MHRA changed their consultation date!)

We were wrong!

By the way, the rumours we heard about electronic cigarette regulation coming were completely wrong. Doh!

Links

Please add any relevant links in the comments below – at present there seems to be very little commentary!

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3 Responses to “MHRA Electronic Cigarette Decision Good News for UK Vapers”

  1. Vaped Crusader December 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Good news! Glad to here some countries are actually making progress. Does this mean that they are doing “nothing” permanently? and completely handing it off to Trading Standards? or is this a temporary “nothing” and the MHRA is still involved?

    The Vaped Crusader hates the idea of having medical bureaucracies involved. Trading Standards seems like more of a streamlining business approach to development.

  2. admin December 28, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    They gave a two year breathing space while more research was being carried out. However, since then there have been some encouraging signs from the government, specifically a statement from the UK Nudge Unit that the e-cigarette could save millions of pounds and thousands of lives.

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