The MHRA is proposing to licence Electronic Cigarette manufacturers in the UK. Their consultation document suggests that this will reduce the number of manufacturers by 50%.
To be precise, the MHRA document suggests:
‘…all NCPs [Nicotine Containing Products] should be classified as medicinal products and all unlicensed NCPs be removed from the market within 21 days’
It is proposed that licensing will cost around GBP5,000 – 6,000 a year, with similar annual costs for inspection and registration, resulting in approxiamtely 12 manufacturers remaining, who will have complied with the required regulations.
Now our first reaction is that this a good thing because it will:
- put in place quality control
- legitimise the industry
- remove cowboys
- ensure consistency
- save lives, as suggested in the final paragraph
‘If additional people use smoke-free licensed NRT products there is more chance of a successful quit attempt…..’
However, Kate from the Vaper’s Forum has also raised some concerns which we’ll also mention later.
One of the concerns with the electronic cigarette is quality.
It’s not a concern we have about the NJOY, which has just been proven toxin free by the testing lab Analyze and which is manufactured under strict supervision.
However, we are concerned about cheap alternatives. As Jim Palasota of NJOY told us, many companies are not concerned about quality, they are only concerned about buying the cheapest e-cigarette so that they can be the cheapest on the market. As these companies are often under funded, they do not have the means to have independent lab tests carried out or inspect the factories in China.
Jim is not the only one to have concerns about the quality of the products. When we interviewed Professor Carl Phillips, his only real concern over the electronic cigarette was the possibility of contamination:
We also think the move will remove some of the cowboys.
We’ve posted before about electronic cigarette scams.
These involve selling ‘free’ electronic cigarettes and then charging a fortune for refills sent monthly, and refusing to cancel such standing orders.
These companies give the whole industry a bad name. They may also potentially stop smokers who would have switched to an electronic cigarette.
Legitimising the Industry
A third benefit is that an official licensing scheme would legitimise the industry.
Licensing would give more consumers more confidence in a new product, and a product which has been much maligned by American anti-smoking propaganda.
Not everyone is happy with the move.
Here is a movie which Kate from the Vapers Forum sent me. (The video is excellent, btw, well worth watching whether or not you agree with it!)
As I understand it, Kate is concerned about the electronic cigarette only being licensed for use as a pharmaceutical aid.
Many e-smokers are using vaping as an alternative to smoking, and this should be their right.
If they want to enjoy nicotine safely, why shouldn’t they?
And indeed at the Ashtray blog, we also like to say, if smokers want to enjoy nicotine dangerously, it’s their decision, not the government’s!
(Smoking doesn’t cost the country! Despite the propoganda, cigarettes raises more taxes than the government spends on smoking diseases, and saves a fortune in pensions costs. We are not saying it is a good thing, only that it is a responsible adult’s legitimate choice. Oh, and the largest passive smoking study ever conducted found no evidence that passive smoking causes lung cancer.)
So, pluses and minuses here.
What’s your opinion?
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