Friday, 22 March 2013

How should the EU regulate e-cigarettes?

Background: revision of the tobacco directive

The European Parliament is currently examining the proposed revision of the EU tobacco products directive. The tobacco directive regulates many aspects of how tobacco products can be marketed and sold including ingredients, packaging, labelling, health warnings, pricing, advertising and promotion. 

The aim of the legislation is to make tobacco products unattractive and inform users as much as possible of the health dangers of tobacco, in recognition that these products are so bad for health that they kill hundreds of thousands of Europeans every year. 

In public health terms, tobacco control policies are highly successful and have resulted in falling levels of smoking across Europe and the world:

http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_743.pdf

http://www.bvsde.paho.org/bvsacd/cd51/tobacco-past/cap4.pdf


http://old.ensp.org/files/effectivefinal2.pdf

http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/


For more information on the proposal, please see: http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/products/revision/index_en.htm

As a member of the ENVI (environment, public health and food safety) committee 
 with a strong interest in public health, I am following discussions on the directive closely, although I do not have any official role (my Belgian Liberal colleague Frédérique Ries is the MEP responsible in the Liberal group). 

However, I am following the proposal for the Liberal group in the Legal Affairs committee, which will naturally examine the legal soundness and clarity of the proposal rather than the public health aspects. 


Electronic cigarettes

During the last few years, we have seen the arrival of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on the market in various European countries. For those who do not know, e-cigarettes are devices that resemble a cigarette or a pen and enable the user to inhale nicotine containing vapour. Some e-cigarette users call their habit "vaping". 

Supporters of e-cigarettes say that provide a less harmful alternative to tobacco for smokers unable to quit. E-cigarettes contain only nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco, and do not contain the many other components of tobacco including those which are carcinogenic (cancer causing). 

Public health organisations such as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the UK anti-smoking charity agree that e-cigarettes can be a harm reduction tool for smokers who want to quit but have not managed to do so. 

The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will also look at e-cigarettes in its next review of smoking cessation guidelines. 

The regulation question
 
As e-cigarettes are new products, they are currently only very loosely regulated under general consumer products legislation, which does not take into account their rather specific nature. The European Commission (EU civil service) therefore included proposals to better regulate e-cigarettes in the revision of the tobacco directive. 

What is currently proposed in the tobacco directive would require e-cigarettes containing a nicotine concentration of more than than 4mg per ml to fall under the pharmaceutical legislation that covers nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as nicotine patches and chewing gum. This would mean e-cigarette companies having to submit marketing authorisation applications to the European Medicines Agency.

E-cigarettes contain on average a nicotine concentration of around 18mg/ml, with some products going up to 20mg/ml. That means most e-cigarettes would under the current proposed regulatory regime fall under the scope of EU pharmaceutical legislation. 

One solution could be that e-cigarettes producers lower the nicotine levels in their products  so they are 4mg/ml or less. However, e-cigarette companies and consumers say that this level of nicotine is too low to satisfy the nicotine cravings of ex-smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes and could lead to them returning to tobacco. 

Considerations for the regulation of e-cigarettes

It seems to me that maintaining the status quo is not an option, but I am not yet convinced 
that requiring e-cigarettes to get a pharmaceutical marketing authorisation is the way to go
either. 

I believe it is necessary to develop a regulatory regime specifically designed for e-cigarettes that will achieve the delicate balance of keeping the products available for existing users who are ex-smokers, while not making the products attractive to new users who do not smoke, especially young people. Very difficult!

I am not sure how best this can be done, but I would suggest that the following needs to be taken into consideration:


  • While it is clear that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, nicotine does have some negative health effects, but the long term health impacts of using e-cigarettes are currently unknown;
  • Expanding on the previous point, it may be appropriate to require e-cigarettes to come with a general health warning such as "may damage your health" until evidence is available to make a more precise warning;
  • There are currently no standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes, something which needs to be rectified for reasons of consumer protection;
  • The aim of regulation should be to keep e-cigarettes available as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers, while taking every precaution to ensure their use does not "renormalise" smoking and that they are not marketed in a way that broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. In order to guarantee this, it may be necessary to subject e-cigarettes to marketing restrictions such as minimum age of purchase requirements, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on characterising flavours (e.g. chocolate) and advertising restrictions such as prohibiting billboards near schools, daytime TV adverts and adverts in magazines, websites aimed at or read by young people. 
  • Following on from the previous point, e-cigarettes used in public places where smoking is forbidden or in front of children would also contribute to "renormalisation", so steps should be taken to avoid this, for example restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places. 
One other point worth mentioning is that whatever regulation is eventually put in place for e-cigarettes, there will be a transition period of several years before it comes into force. This would mean that the e-cigarette industry would have a number of years to comply with the legislation, so there would be no danger of the products disappearing overnight and existing e-cigarette users being left high and dry.

This is indeed a complex issue, with many different viewpoints. I am open to comments and suggestions. 






157 comments:

  1. "In public health terms, tobacco control policies are highly successful"

    Not according to CRUK, they aren't. They admitted today that after all the ludicrous legislation of the past few years, 50,000 more kids started smoking than last year.

    It is unarguable, though, that e-cigs are a massive success. If politicians are truly serious about encouraging people to give up smoking, they wouldn't even be considering destroying the efficacy of a product which now boasts one million users in the UK alone.

    Restrict the strength of e-liquid and the EU will look more foolish and hypocritical than ever before.

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    Replies
    1. CRUK should have no place at the table with regards to tobacco contol, they need to get out of the prohibition business and get back to Research into Cancer.

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    2. I dont think more children are smoking, I dont need to do the research, I just need to look around me!
      As a smoker myself for 25 years (been vaping for 18 months) I can see that fewer and fewer children are smoking and so are fewer teens. How can I prove that? Well I live in Manchester, I travel to Crewe by train and I work as a contractor. If I forget my lighter Im usually forced to buy a box of matches because I cant get a 'light' off a passer on the street like I could 10 years ago.
      If I walk past Manchester University (thats over 2 miles from Oxford Road train station to Upper Brook Street) I cant get a lighter from a student.
      If I work in an office as an IT engineer, Im usually on my own smoking at lunchtime - under a shelter, near the dustbins, in the rain.
      Seriously, 50,000 more kids? Rubbish. I dont see why anyone would want to smoke anymore. ecigarettes do everyting a cigarette does, cheaper, with 100's of flavours and with no smell and according to a study in candada (who put rats and monkees into a sealed room for 18 months) does not harm at all. Are we going to ban fog machines in nightclubs? Its the same stuff.
      I think the government wants the £8 pounds tax, per day, that they used to get per smoker as they are broke. If thats at the expense of my life, by saying ecigarettes are untested and I should continue to inhale 4000 chemicals from regular cigarettes, then of course they will fiddle the figures.
      IN THE SAME WAY that the American Cancer Society doesnt actually research cures for cancer at all, they just debunk doctors who do find cures so they can continue to make money from 'life saving(?)' drugs and chemotherapy. Dont give them a penny in charity, they are owned by major pharma and have done nothing to help with a cure for cancer.
      Lets wake up everyone and see that what is being said on the media is not always true.

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    3. Good sharing, a recent study by researchers at Washington University in St Louis reveals that many parents who use electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs for short) are not aware of the dangers that they present for their children. The use of e-cigs in the US has increased dramatically in the last few years, as have the number of emergency calls to poison control centres around the country. For detail visit:
      http://kidbuxblog.com/a-hidden-danger-for-people-who-use-electronic-cigarettes/

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  2. Well done for accepting comment and suggestions on this matter.
    I will open by saying I used to smoke 10-12g of rolling tobacco every day, NRT failed, but I have used electronic cigarettes for a little over two years without even a single puff on a real cigarette or used any other tobacco product.
    My comments/suggestions are -
    1. General warning. As many reputable vendors already do, CHIP compliance for the liquids would cover both the warning for toxicity as well as purity and origin of manufacture. This would be covered by current enforcement methods.
    2. Product safety. For the devices themselves the general product safety is adequate as long as enforcement is correct since they are a battery powered device.
    3. Nicotine content. 4mg/ml was a ludicrous suggestion. I started at 18mg/ml and increased this to satisfy my requirements till I now use 28mg/ml (sometimes up to 36mg/ml) and get through up to 10ml of this per day with no ill effects. Other users use higher concentrations with no reported problems. The absorption of nicotine from electronic cigarettes is not the same as for real cigarettes so comparing the concentrations for these purposes is pointless.
    4. Renormalising smoking. This is funny since most people who do not understand e cigarettes fully find them to be a joke, and children have indeed ridiculed me in the street for using one - some even while smoking cigarettes. How about normalising the harm reduction electronic cigarettes provide by giving people proper information rather than scare tactics. Also the devices I, and many other users, have for everyday use in no way resemble real cigarettes and I suggest the EU parliament spends 10 minutes online looking at them (my current favourite is called a Tesla as an example).
    5. Public areas. If time could be taken to educate the public on e cigarettes by even a tenth of what has been done to caution them against smoking you would probably counter any misunderstanding and indeed in my own experience if explained properly the majority of people have had no issue with me using my device anywhere near them. My autistic nephew for instance was very understanding when 8 and indeed then proceeded to berate my sister for still smoking when these devices were available.
    6. Flavours. This one is back to the idea nice flavours will make the young and the non-smoker more attracted to e cigarettes. Apparently I, and any other user, is supposed to not enjoy different flavours when in fact the majority welcome the change from stale ash to the variety we have available. Indeed with the return of my taste I love the many flavours I use and like the majority of users, I now find the smell and taste of burning tobacco to put me off the real things. It is a positive for these devices and deeply short sighted to try and get rid of them. NRT has now branched out into having multiple flavours and they are not being told to stop.
    7. Thinking of the Children. Since many anti nicotine proponents use this type of argument I thought I would respond in a similar vein. Firstly scare mongering tactics are the best description of this sort of argument and I find it patronising and insulting at the very least. As I've said most children I've come across find them a joke, politicians use the word "cool" a fair bit around this topic when they forget cigarettes have not been considered cool for quite some time but children still get hold of them. It is the fact they are prohibited which draws many in, as with alcohol. Reputable vendors already try to restrict sales to 18+ we just need light regulation to stop those that are not doing this.

    Also I suggest you contact Professor John Britton, Clive Bates (former head of ASH), Deborah Arnott (current head of ASH) and Professor Gerry Stimson, and talk to them about e cigarettes, as they will all tell you that e-cigs will prevent premature deaths, and prevent the likes of COPD and Lung Cancer.

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to post these comments, much appreciated.

    In relation to points 1 & 2, enforcement of standards that are already used by reputable companies should be the aim, so we agree on that.

    Point 3: are there any studies on absorption levels? I know that there aren't yet many studies about the long term effect of using e-cigarettes so I believe caution is needed. Apparently, there is one being conducted in New Zealand apparently but it won't have results before 2014.

    Point 4: I am not sure about that. I have seen people with e-cigarettes which look like cigarettes, although I know not all products do.

    Point 5: I am concerned about renormalisation, sorry : (

    Point 6: could you give me more information about flavours. Again my aim is to keep products available for ex-smokers like yourself but discourage non-smokers especially young people from starting. If (as existing users & e-cigarette companies say) the products are only aimed at adult smokers as switch products, then measures to discourage others should not pose a problem.

    In relation to children (point 7), if smoking was so uncool, it would not be the case that over 70% of smokers start before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25. This is why the tobacco industry markets products in a way that attracts young people eg slim packets with pretty logos and colours, because once people get over the age of 25 they are unlikely to start smoking.

    That is also why there are many measures in the tobacco directive related to packaging. It is a legitimate public health goal to discourage young people not to smoke. If e-cigarettes are not attractive to children anyway, then measures to keep things that way should not be a problem.

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    Replies
    1. many of your queries are answered here - http://qr.ae/TSY3f particularly normalisation and flavourings.

      - and elsewhere on that board (http://e-cigs-board.quora.com/, which is a collection of e-cig studies and related articles.

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  4. Why regulate something that will save lives in the long run?
    Nicotine in no more harmful than caffeine in the correct dosage.
    The current level of nicotine that the EU propose is effectively a ban.
    I have tried every NRT on the market including tablets and the longest I have lasted is six months without tobacco.
    E cigs have made my health better and I have not smoked for 3 years because of them.
    I like different flavours also and will never touch tobacco flavour again. Why do I want to be reminded of something that was killing me?

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    1. It's great your are interested in the vapers point of view Rebecca.

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  5. Thanks for the quick response.
    On your replies;
    On 3, I think Dr Farsalinos was trying to give some absorption information when he spoke at the stakeholders meeting so perhaps you could ask him about it but yes in general there is very little full peer reviewed studies on much of e cigs and for better placed knowledge you should perhaps talk to the people I mentioned before.
    4. Yes everyone knows about the devices designed to look like real cigs, many new users are looking for something which approximates the real thing which is unfortunate but hopefully the legislators taking the long view can see past that since there has been little evidence of them doing this so far. The size is not the issue I think but the colour of light and device which is the problem. I think many new users are still trying to fit in as smokers hence their attraction to these but further study should be done on that area.
    5. You didn't reply properly which I take to mean you need to go and have a proper think about it and talk to people about this.
    6. Flavours is a huge topic and you will have to specify what you want to know rather than just asking us to tell you about them. I work so have very little time to trawl for evidence and surely the EU has independent researchers who can be asked to track down information for you. Again though any reputable vendor you can look at has age restrictions on sales. It does seem to be the case many officials seem to think when you have become a smoker be it real or electronic you have given up your right to enjoy taste which I personally believe totters on them making it a human rights issue.
    7. I was right you have fallen back on a very old argument, and can you link me to the peer reviewed study you are using for your information so I can read it, normal reports no matter where from are not a valid source for statistics and hence the basis for legislative argument and only properly reviewed information should apply. My own story is I started smoking at 12 and it was cigars not cigarettes until I was in my twenties. I had never thought they looked cool and still don't. Indeed if it is all down to cool as people keep simplifying things to most young people asked think they are an awful thing so you need to do a large peer reviewed study perhaps asking young smokers why they started and be careful how the questions are constructed. Most studies about this area I have come across over the years have either asked questions badly or in a loaded fashion or do not take into account the great volume of people who answer to avoid the issue and will not give an accurate answer.
    I know for instance many people I have met find the warning pictures intriguing and so attract some attention rather than just making people avoid them wholesale.
    I agree we need to stop many young persons from starting, I also know there will probably always be a percentage who do it anyway in spite of any legislation. Again I say that any reputable vendor already tries to sell only to those 18+.
    Then again we know the best control anyone could try is an outright ban (which despite what you have said is effectively what the directive will do to e cigs) on tobacco products but we also know prohibition has never worked as intended either.

    I also find it disturbing that while at the same time trying to control e cigs, free reign is given to NRT which continuously reported as being inadequate and yet receives huge backing in spite of no improvement in long term success. Champix has caused deaths and destroyed lives but is still being pushed forward as a fantastic product. I know if there had been any deaths attributed to e cig a ban would arrive very fast indeed but it is fine for pharmaceutical companies to use us as test subjects.

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  6. At last an MEP who is listening and entering into public debate!

    I failed for many years to stop smoking, trying every way possible and I really wanted to give up.

    With ecigs it worked first time and the improvement in my health has been life changing.

    My main problem with trying to control ecigarettes, is that smoking is still completely available.

    Now, call me daft, but when something that is known to kill huge numbers of people, can still be bought openly from huge numbers of shops, yet a product which is thought to be at least 99% safer than smoking and has helped massive numbers of people to stop smoking cigarettes and switch to a huge improvement in their life, is considered being restricted in such a way that would make it completely useless in helping a smoker switch.

    Re Flavours.
    Many people when they start vaping only think they are going to want to vape tobacco flavours, yet many switch very quickly to other flavours.
    These are not children, but usually older adults, that search until they find the right flavour for them, that enables them to stay off tobacco.

    I never believed I would be able to stop smoking cigarettes, it really has changed my life/the life of my wife and children.

    I'm going to let others discuss the semantics, as I think they do it in a more eloquent way than I.

    Yet I am saddened for all the smokers out there who may never have a chance to try these life saving things.
    I don't think it's too extreme to say that whoever votes in such a directive, will literally be halting a smokers chance of trying something that has a very good chance of working for them... and it's very well known, a much better chance than NRT, (who's rate of keeping smokers from lighting up for a year after giving up, is painfully small)

    Therefore because you are effectively keeping them smoking, you are no doubt sentencing some of them to a painful death.



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  7. I am also heartened that an MEP is taking the time to debate this important matter in public - thank you!
    I was until 6 months ago a smoker of 35+ years. I now use a Personal Vapouriser (PV), which has no resemblance to a cigarette, to obtain my nicotine.
    The device is battery-powered as the vast majority are, and I use juice of about 12mg/ml strength, which is a significant reduction on the hand-rolling tobacco I used to use.
    My general health has improved markedly since giving up tobacco in September 2012; my teeth are no longer stained, my clothes, hair, car and home no longer smell of stale smoke, I have lost my cough and my lung capacity has improved noticeably.
    I fully concur with the points made above - reducing the strength of juice available would not permit me to continue using my PV which has, I hope, given me extra years of life to enjoy. I'm honestly not sure if I could continue now without nicotine, which as already mentioned is no more harmful than caffeine, and may be forced to resort to tobacco again in order to fuel my, let's be honest here, addiction.
    As for flavours in my juices, I made a conscious decision to avoid tobacco flavours when I started vaping - I wanted to leave tobacco behind, not be permanently reminded of its taste! I enjoy dessert type flavours, and also mentholated juice, as well as fruit flavours.
    I am also saddened and angered by the fact that the EU, in all its apparent wisdom, wants to force vapers, the vast majority of whom are ex-smokers, to be severely restricted in the availability of both the devices and juice to use in them of a sufficient strength, while thousands of retails outlets throughout the country are selling tobacco products almost 24/7 - where's the logic, or indeed the morality, in that?!
    I accept that as a new and currently unrestricted industy, naturally safeguards need to be applied to protect the consumer and vendor alike. But if using my PV is even 50% safer (let alone the 99% that is widely quoted by more learned people than I), I for one would use that over tobacco products in a flash.
    Please use your influence to appraise your MEP colleagues to the strength of feeling over 1 million vapers in the UK alone feel on this subject, and I encourage both you and them to visit some of the many fora on the internet to read the hundreds of testimonials which appear from ex-smokers like myself who have manged to kick tobacco into touch.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this - I offer little in the way of new information for you I know, but that doesn't make me any less fervent in my wish to see the EU help me rather than hinder in my continued desire to not smoke tobacco.
    Best regards
    Andy

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  8. It is heartening that you are open to discussion. What the vaping community find concerning is that proposals are being made about our lifestyle by people who do not understand it. Those proposals are generally based on rumour and old information. A little time spent with a vaper would enlighten people to the subject. Any decision which impacts peoples lives and is based on ignorance will result in the wrong outcome.

    I refuse to believe that once learning about the facts, any sensible and rational person would support the vaping related elements of TPD directive in its current form.

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  9. I'm going to split this into two posts, because there is a character limit.

    Hello Rebecca and thank you very much for allowing vapers to have a say, it's refreshing to find an MEP that is willing to listen and discourse with users of a product without arbitrarily banning according to their own views.
    I've been following the comings and goings as closely as I can in Brussels and the UK with the TPD and you seem to be in a minority!

    Anyway, to the point.
    I'd like to add my point of view to a couple of your questions and thoughts.

    "While it is clear that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, nicotine does have some negative health effects, but the long term health impacts of using e-cigarettes are currently unknown"

    While it is true that the long term implications of e-cig usage are unknown, on the evidence that is known it's possible to make an educated guess.
    It can't be disputed that E-cigs are many orders of magnitudes safer than smoking tobacco.
    There is no inhalation of the by products of combustion like tar and carbon monoxide and all the four main ingredients used in e-liquids have been used for many years and are classified as being none hazardous to humans - as long as the liquids are correctly labelled and the concentrations are correct there are no known cases that I've heard of with acute reactions to e-liquids or vaping (there are some fairly common minor and generally temporary side effects) but to my knowledge in the past few years with millions of users there has been no serious problems.
    That doesn't mean there isn't potential for problems with more people "jumping on the e-cig" bandwagon as the popularity explodes but that is why I'm in total agreement with you that the liquids must meet standards and those standards must be enforced!
    Strangely enough the biggest danger with e-cigs is probably unsafe chargers being a fire risk but that's a trading standards issue and nothing to do with having an MA.

    Nicotine on the other hand is a very well known chemical.
    It's been studied in detail at length and the fact is nicotine is a fairly benign drug comparable to caffeine, it's the traditional delivery method that kills, not the drug itself.
    Yes it's addictive but addiction or dependency doesn't mean it's harmful in itself.

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  10. "Expanding on the previous point, it may be appropriate to require e-cigarettes to come with a general health warning such as "may damage your health" until evidence is available to make a more precise warning;"

    I have no problems with people being given all available information and being able to make their own minds up.
    To be honest tobacco has been carrying the odd warning or two for decades and people still smoke so I doubt a "may be hazardous to your heath" warning will make the slightest bit of difference.
    All of the liquids should have toxic warning labels on already so the job is already done in my view.

    "There are currently no standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes, something which needs to be rectified for reasons of consumer protection;"

    E-cig devices and chargers themselves should be already covered under many consumer safety laws and enforced by trading standards so they are already covered, the liquids are as well as far as I know also by trading standards.
    So it's a bit of a misconception that e-cigs aren't regulated.
    Are the regulations we already have enforced?
    Not for me to say, maybe the UK and the EU should look at enforcing the existing regulations and giving trade bodies and trading standards type organisations teeth so they can enforce them properly.

    "The aim of regulation should be to keep e-cigarettes available as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers, while taking every precaution to ensure their use does not "renormalise" smoking and that they are not marketed in a way that broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. In order to guarantee this, it may be necessary to subject e-cigarettes to marketing restrictions such as minimum age of purchase requirements, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing,"

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  11. I'm going to split this response in two sections as they are both important points.
    I agree totally that we don't want children smoking or vaping and becoming addicted to nicotine but everyone seems to be under the impression that we can "stop" children smoking.
    For 50 years or so since the dangers of smoking were discovered everyone has tried to stop children taking up smoking, parents, teachers, health care and politicians... yet we still have underage smokers.
    I agree that we have to try to make it harder for children to smoke but there is a separate argument here concerning adults.
    If we make it hard for the smoker to get hold of a much safer alternative then we are playing into tobacco companies hands.
    Personally I believe people should be free to choose to smoke or not but I seem to be in the minority that doesn't have some pious self righteous views on smokers and I certainly don't believe in the "quit or die" that lots seem to follow.
    Smoking aside; we absolutely must not try to stop smokers switching to a safer alternative even if it we can't say they are 100% safe, safer is still safer and 95-99% safer (the estimation of how much safer e-cigs are as an alternative) is a whole lot safer.
    There aren't many things that I can think of that are hit by attempted bans even though there's no evidence of harm and there is evidence that they could eradicate one of the worlds biggest killers as well as improve the quality of life for many many millions.
    The EUs first reaction is to ban them by regulating them into uselessness?
    Why would anyone ever, ever, want to take the risk that they may actually turn out to be virtually harmless and save millions of lives?
    I would suggest regulate when there is a need to regulate and not before (by regulate here I mean regulate to what's currently needed based on the current evidence.)
    I can only think that the people who want to see any end to a safer alternative to smoking are either puritans who despise smokers and anything related to smoking and nicotine or they are in the pockets of big Pharma (needless to say an effective nicotine containing product does somewhat step on the toes of ineffectual and over priced NRT.)
    Ok tinfoil hat taken off now!

    "a ban on characterising flavours (e.g. chocolate)"

    Do adults suddenly lose the ability to taste once they reach 18?
    We don't eat flavourless paste for food so why would we want flavourless q-liquid?
    I like the taste of chocolate, fruit, custard, sweets etc so why would consenting adults be deprived from flavours, unless flavours are something that only affects children?
    The other flavour point is, I don't smoke tobacco anymore I don't even really want to taste tobacco anymore and I don't use anything that looks like a cigarette anymore.
    I don't want something that tastes like tobacco either!
    I don't smoke and I don't want to taste or smell smoke either.
    But I can understand everyone is different and some like tobacco flavours.
    That's why there are 100s of flavours to choose from - everyone is different and likes different things.

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    1. Tin foil hat :) well its hard not to deny that something is going on. Im wondering would it not be better to use tobacco as a fuel for cars and to leave the food crop for 'eating'? http://io9.com/5440757/now-you-can-fuel-your-car-with-tobacco
      Im fully in support of ecigarettes. Its better for everyone including the environment, or whats going to be left of it after Fukoshima http://www.globalresearch.ca/there-is-no-way-to-stop-fukushima-radioactive-water-leaking-into-the-pacific/5345909

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  12. "and advertising restrictions such as prohibiting billboards near schools, daytime TV adverts and adverts in magazines, websites aimed at or read by young people.
    Following on from the previous point, e-cigarettes used in public places where smoking is forbidden or in front of children would also contribute to "renormalisation", so steps should be taken to avoid this, for example restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places."

    For me the whole "normalisation" is a dirty word, smokers are already treated like lepers and ostracised from public places and in my case (being as stubborn as a mule) I just dug my heals in further and avoided contact with self-righteous ANTZs (Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots)
    The more they pushed the harder I pushed back and the more indignant I got at being treated in such a childish and discriminatory way.
    Smokers aren't diseased, they aren't mentally ill and they aren't "abnormal."

    Onto the subject of advertising, I can understand not wanting to make vaping or smoking attractive to children, but (controversial me)
    If e-cigs are 95-99% safer would it be better if kids are going to smoke (which they will if they will) isn't it better for them to use an "as far as we know" harmless e-cig and not take up smoking which is a deadly killer?
    Its the choice between them having an early painful death or not, really - it's as simple as that when you come right down to it.
    Yes it would be preferable if they did neither but this isn't a perfect world and unfortunately, often kids do the exact opposite of what people do or don't want them to do.
    I would say take the lesser road of harm reduction if you are going to do it.

    We absolutely have to allow people to have a choice with e-cigs, because what's the alternative, tobacco?

    Wow!
    Even I went on longer than expected.
    Sorry about that but this is something I am incredibly passionate about (in case you couldn't tell)

    Hope some of it is useful to you and thanks for listening to me :)

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  13. 1.Electronic cigarettes have now been available worldwide for over 8 years and as of yet I am to hear of anyone claiming death or terminal illness in relation to their use. I think it would be pretty safe to assume that is there had been we would have heard about it by now. There are in fact studies regarding nicotine absorption rates using electronic cigarettes and in the most recent one, a breakdown of which is published on ASH’s website it is believed to be at the most half that of a Tobacco equivalent.
    www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_858.pdf


    2.Every liquid I have purchased to date from no matter what country has come with a health warning in terms of the liquid it’s self. Many even come with the skull and crossbones mark on them to imply if used incorrectly the liquid could be toxic. I’ve found the vendors very much on top of their game regarding this, and happy to engage in any queries I may have.

    3.In the UK they come under trading standards which means the devices should be safe to use and carry no toxins and such like. Again I have found all of my products purchased to be of high quality and clearly labelled. This regulation in my opinion is sufficient as long as it is enforced.

    4.I know many people who use Electronic Cigarettes and do not know of a single one who has taken them up before ever using normal tobacco products. This just doe not happen. Most people who switch from conventional tobacco to E-Cigs normally do so by the avenue of buying the cig-a-like types because they are actually put off by the look of the more efficient products like eGo’s, Vamo’s or Spinners and their like.
    My friend’s son is 16 years old and has been smoking since he was 13 so he is truly addicted to smoking. I have tried to get him to make the switch to e-cigs, but he just isn’t interested. Stating that his friends would mock him and it isn’t “proper smoking.”
    No matter what restrictions the EU Commission put in place on Tobacco. Children will still smoke and they will always go down the Tobacco route. It is a fact of life that will not change because they come in packets with scary pictures on them. It is about rebellion and not because cigarettes are attractive due to fancy packaging.
    Flavoured liquids actually lead many electronic cigarette users away from tobacco flavours and thus in turn make the return to conventional cigarettes less appealing.
    As already stated adults actually do enjoy flavours such as chocolate too and I feel it is a little short sighted to think that these flavours are being produced to entice people into smoking when it is in fact leading them away from it.

    5.This could actually be a benefit for productivity and the economy. Many smokers no longer use restaurant’s or public houses due to the smoking ban. Many ore to old to stand outside in all weathers to smoke so choose to stay at home instead. Also in terms of productivity smokers would no longer need to take a smoking break if they switched over to electronic cigarettes and were allowed to use them at their desks. There is after all no passive effects. Also banning them from public places would actually have a detriment to the health of Electronic Cigarette users as they would be forced to stand in shelters or areas with those using conventional combustible tobacco and therefore would be inhaling their passive intoxicants.

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  14. I would like to end by saying that the new TPD aims to reduce the death toll from smoking by 2%. I would argue that if electronic cigarettes are left has they are, and the regulations already in place are enforced. If the current rate of growth of this market continues you could actually be looking at a 10% or higher reduction. The Commission’s proposals if followed to the letter will actually force many of those who have taken to electronic cigarettes back into smoking conventional tobacco and I believe that is not the intention of the TPD at all?

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and I sincerely hope the Commission consider this carefully as they are on the brink of throwing away a major win for all involved.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Rebecca,

    I'll not add too much as your pointa have been answered in a comprehensive manner by the previous posters.

    However I do wish to add that I have been using E-cigs for 3 years and 6 months. I used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

    I too tried to quit wit the help of the NHS trying gum & patches which made me feel ill. Then I discovered e-cigarettes and except for one instance only 1 week after starting on a e-cigarette I have not smoked a single cigarette.

    My BP has dropped, my weight has been stable ( a reason many quitters fall "off the wagon") and I do not smell like an ash-tray.

    I too use a device which does not look like a cigarette (think more like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver) and use 18mg nicotinr juice which strength I have arrived at after trial and error. This level of nicotine satisfies my cravings.

    Thank you for listening to people that have first hand knowledge of vaping, I trust you will take the comments of experienced "Vapers" on board.

    Des Wilkinson

    ReplyDelete
  16. Here are some links that you might find useful in your research, they should cover the bulk of scientific research done so far.

    ECITA the industry trade body
    http://www.ecita.org.uk/index.html

    ECCA the consumer group
    http://www.eccauk.org/


    As well as a link to a very popular UK forum with a couple of thousand users that covers pretty much every aspect of vaping form helping new beginners to people mixing DIY liquids and mod makers.
    http://allaboute-cigarettes.proboards.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is also information that CASAA (an American consumer group)has collected.
      http://casaa.org/Tobacco_Harm_Reduction.html

      Delete
  17. Hello Rebecca,
    I switched to my ecig about five months ago. In that time I have been using vanilla and mint flavours. Last month, out of curiosity, I decided to try a tobacco cigarette for the first time since switching. I put it out after two drags because it tasted so foul. This is why I believe flavourings play a huge part in keeping me from switching back to tobacco cigarettes. Without any flavourings at all I think it likely that smokers trying ecigs would just stick to their traditional cigarette.
    I have also found that using a low nicotine strength such as 12mg/ml (1.2%) caused me to be using it all day rather than the once every couple of hours I use my 24mg/ml (2.4%) for.
    Regulation that I would like to see would be in the form of quality control, making sure that liquid is produced in the correct environment using approved ingredients. Although sellers don't sell to under 18s (self immposed rule) it would be good if this were official.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations on seeking dialogue and information from the people who will be effected by you and your colleagues decisions. I sincerely hope that such an initiative will be replicated by all elected representatives, at local, national and EU levels in the future.

    There are clearly still some misconceptions about e-cigs, vaping and nicotine use, despite the sterling attempts by 'stake holder' representatives to enlighten you and your colleagues.

    '..nicotine does have some negative health effects..'
    The negative health effects of nicotine use would appear only to be associated with tobacco smoking. Once the combustion of tobacco is removed from the equation, there remains only a short-term increase in blood pressure and pulse-rate, not dissimilar from short bursts of exercise, which is actually seen as beneficial to reducing the likelihood of heart disease. There is a presumed negative effect on foetal development, and consumption of nicotine, just like alcohol, should likely be avoided during pregnancy.

    '..it may be appropriate to require e-cigarettes to come with a general health warning such as "may damage your health" until evidence is available to make a more precise warning;..'
    It would surely then be even more appropriate to require all foodstuffs containing saturated fats, sugars and questionable additives, housing in (traffic) polluted areas and even jobs to come with a general health warning such as "WILL damage your health"? Perhaps horse-riding, DIY in the home and kitchen implements should be included under the "may damage your health" banner.
    But seriously, no one, with an ounce of integrity, has claimed or is claiming that e-cigs are absolutely safe. However considering the combined ingredients of 'e-liquid' and their considerable use in the pharmaceutical and food industries, it is very unlikely that they will suddenly found to be dangerous. The most important point here though is not the probable safety of e-cigs, but the comparative health benefits experienced by so many nicotine users, after swapping tobacco combustion for nicotine inhalation. Indeed (almost) any e-cig user who has 'made the switch', even partially, will report very noticeable and very quick health improvements. Typically lung function and capacity will improve, reliance on medicinal treatment becomes less and overall sense of well-being improves. Even in EU member states where e-cigs are officially discouraged by the government health authorities, medical professionals are well aware of the health benefits arising from the 'switch' to e-cigs, and, unofficially, encouraging it.

    '..There are currently no standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes..'
    Considering that an e-cig physically is comparable to any battery powered torch, both in form and electrical function (insert battery and press the switch), I really wonder what specific standards you could consider should be applied to an e-cig and not to a torch? I can only assume that you have misunderstood the very nature of an e-cig, which I will not go into here. There are numerous sources of information available, but your hunger for legislating on matters of which you have, apparently, so little knowledge, is frankly quite frightening.
    I believe that ECITA has a simple summary of the different safety regulations to be observed when marketing battery powered devices, nicotine solutions, internet sales and disposal of batteries and electrical equipment. http://www.ecita.org.uk/regulations.html
    Perhaps you and your colleagues should take the time to read up on existing legislation, before proposing more rules of which the efficacy is questionable.

    ReplyDelete
  19. '..The aim of regulation should be to keep e-cigarettes available as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers, while taking every precaution to ensure their use does not "renormalise" smoking and that they are not marketed in a way that broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. In order to guarantee this, it may be necessary to subject e-cigarettes to marketing restrictions such as minimum age of purchase requirements, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on characterising flavours (e.g. chocolate) and advertising restrictions such as prohibiting billboards near schools, daytime TV adverts and adverts in magazines, websites aimed at or read by young people. '

    I look forward to you proposing similar legislation in regard to the dangers of 'soft drink' consumption "renormalising" alcoholism. The act of drinking soft-drinks emulates the consumption of alcohol, soft drinks contain addictive substances (caffeine) and concentrations of sugars that clearly exacerbate health risks. So only mineral water with bubbles from now on?

    To date there is absolutely no evidence that non-smokers and or under-18s are adopting e cigs in any measurable numbers. Considering the researched reasons for youngsters to start tobacco combustion, rebelliousness/wanting to appear mature, peer pressure, desire to experiment, it is unlikely that vast numbers of young people will be prevented from adopting e cigs by banning flavours. Please try to understand that young people will continue to make mistakes and 'bad' decisions whatever legislation you and your colleagues attempt to impose. Consider this. If your child had a rebellious streak, what would you prefer them to experiment with: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine or e cigs? While I hope most would agree that young people should be made aware of the potential risks associated with any activity (yes..horse riding again), to assume that a chocolate flavoured nicotine fluid will attract a troublesome 14 year old wanting to be 18 years old, belies an incredible naivety about young people.

    '..e-cigarettes used in public places where smoking is forbidden or in front of children would also contribute to "renormalisation", so steps should be taken to avoid this, for example restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places..'

    Smoking is forbidden in public places due to the health dangers constituted by passive smoking. As far as I am aware, the studies that have been made into chemical composition of exhaled nicotine vapour, have found no evidence of any danger at all, and a nicotine concentration similar to being in the same room as someone eating a plate of boiled potatoes.
    But ah! Renormalisation!
    So all this proposed legislation has nothing to do with health considerations at all, but is an attempt to eradicate any exhalation of visible vapour? No more frosty winter mornings in Northern Europe puffing steam while scraping the ice from the windscreens of our cars? that also may 'renormalise' as they chug out their exhaust fumes that not only can look like tobacco smoke but smell just as bad and are almost as dangerous.

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  20. Renormalisation breaches the barrier between considered legislation to further the 'common good' and the attempts by a minority to impose it's morality on the majority. In fact this is where anyone with the slightest hope of the democratic governmental process functioning to further the well-being and prosperity of the citizens of the EU, is forced to consider the efficacy of the European parliamentary process.

    Dear politicians, thank you for making us more aware of the dangers of tobacco combustion to ourselves and those close to us, thank you for taking an interest in our well being by taking a look at e cigs, although it may have been better to actually educate yourselves before proposing ineffective and superfluous legislation. But do not for a moment forget that it is our right to decide what to do to ourselves, that you are elected to represent us and our wishes and NOT to dictate to us what and how we should consider normal or otherwise at the behest of a (questionably) moral minority.

    At this moment in time when the efficiency, desirability and even constitutional justification of all of the branches of the EU are being so hotly debated throughout the member states, and the world, it would serve both the EU Parliament and Commission to actually listen to the electorate, help to establish true democratic principles and reject these attempts to further the interests of influential lobbyists at the cost of the health and freedom of choice of the electorate.

    ReplyDelete
  21. *While it is clear that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, nicotine does have some negative health effects, but the long term health impacts of using e-cigarettes are currently unknown;
    Not as unknown as you would thing, SNUS is a nicotine product that has so far shown little health effect as it's tobacco consumed without smoke.
    *Expanding on the previous point, it may be appropriate to require e-cigarettes to come with a general health warning such as "may damage your health" until evidence is available to make a more precise warning;
    Agreed, however this needs to be along the lines of "Nicotine is addictive, Certain flavoring or ingredients may aggravate or produce allergens"
    *There are currently no standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes, something which needs to be rectified for reasons of consumer protection;
    Their are actually or TS couldn't regulate them as consumer products. Standards for the liquid might need tightening.
    *The aim of regulation should be to keep e-cigarettes available as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers, while taking every precaution to ensure their use does not "renormalise" smoking and that they are not marketed in a way that broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. In order to guarantee this, it may be necessary to subject e-cigarettes to marketing restrictions such as minimum age of purchase requirements, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on characterising flavours (e.g. chocolate) and advertising restrictions such as prohibiting billboards near schools, daytime TV adverts and adverts in magazines, websites aimed at or read by young people.
    All of which will reduce their efficacy as smoking replacements, Restrictions should be based on proven harm risk to the user or others. Not on the suspected influence seeing someone not smoke may have.
    *Following on from the previous point, e-cigarettes used in public places where smoking is forbidden or in front of children would also contribute to "renormalisation", so steps should be taken to avoid this, for example restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
    Smoking is baned in public places because of the health implications for bystanders not the example they set.
    Contribute to renormalization? of what? smoking? Vaping? This is a nonsense argument unless we start hiding everything that looks like something we disapprove of. Dancing? can look like sex!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Rebecca and Thank you for taking an interest and asking us for our input.

    I too won't bore you by repeating all of the good information above but will add my story.

    I used to smoke on average 30 cigarettes a day but haven't had a cigarette for over 6 months since switching to vaping.

    I tried patches and other NRT products but rapidly discovered I was allergic to them. I also tried one of the tablets 2 years ago to give up but had to very quickly come off them because they caused me to go into a depressive state (for which incidentally I then had to take anti-depressants for 6 months to recover) Not a good move I think!!

    I currently vape 18mg strength juice and I too tend to prefer menthol and fruit flavours. I initially started with a cigarette look-a-like but soon moved away from this to an Ego Twist which doesn't look anything like a cigarette.

    I went to my GP for tests using the smoking cessation clinic. Before giving up cigarettes my breath count using the puffer test was a diabolical 88 but within 2 weeks of not smoking but vaping my count had dropped to a normal count of below 8.

    Please do take a look at the All about e-cigarettes forum (AAEC). Its a great place for information which we all try to present fairly.

    ReplyDelete
  23. While the stated aim of the TPD, which is to make tobacco products unattractive, is laudable, I fail to see how banning Snus and the proposed restrictions on electronic cigarettes fit within these aims.

    Whilst Snus is a tobacco product it has been hugely successful in reducing the number of smokers in Sweden which has by far the lowest incidence of lung and oral cancers within the EU. Denying access to this in other EU countries makes absolutely no sense from a health standpoint, and is in fact condemning many thousands of European citizens to an early death from smoking.

    Electronic cigarettes are also proving to be a viable, and much healthier, alternative to smoking for many long term smokers who either don't want to quit or have been unable to do so using traditional NRT products.

    I personally was a moderate to heavy smoker for 30 years and had to look for an alternative after being diagnosed with COPD. Electronic cigarettes are that alternative, and I have been using one exclusively now for over 2 years.

    To address some of your points regarding electronic cigarettes:

    Characterising flavours – As an ex smoker it may surprise you that I find 'tobacco' flavours unpleasant. It's the availability of other flavours that have helped me to stick with the electronic cigarette instead of lapsing back into smoking as I did many times when trying to quit with traditional NRT products.

    Nicotine levels – The proposed 4mg/ml nicotine content will render electronic cigarettes useless for the majority of users switching from cigarettes. I personally started with 18mg/ml and had to increase this to 24mg/ml initially in order to fully control my cravings for cigarettes. I have been able to reduce this over time back to 18mg/ml but find anything less unsatisfying. Requiring an MA for levels above 4mg/ml will drive many small businesses out of business and give the Pharmaceutical and Tobacco industries a monopoly in the market.

    Use in public places – Smoking cigarettes in public places was banned to protect people from the risks of passive smoking. Electronic cigarettes pose no such risks and it would be totally unjustified to include them in the ban on smoking in public places.

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  24. I don't see how the use of e-cigs will renormalise smoking when it is in fact a much better and more socially acceptable alternative...

    Surely the only possible normalisation that the use of e-cigs will do is normalise e-smoking (instead of real smoking), so that would be a good thing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Toby. Being able to use an e-cig in places where smoking is not allowed also gives the smoker more incentive to switch (IMO).

      Delete
    2. Oh yes Paul...

      For smokers who don't like smoking (but can't quit), the e-cig is simply a wonderful alternative.

      In that respect, e-cigs actually really do a lot for the cause of the denormalisation of smoking.

      Many (maybe most) simply never go back! :)

      Delete
  25. Banky,
    Hello Rebecca,
    I have suffered with asthma all my life smoked cigarettes from the age 10,that was 48 years ago I attend a chest clinic on a regular basis. Because I started smoking from an early age my lungs have now developed emphysema,I tried to give up smoking several times,Cold turkey, Nicotine patch, Nicotine nasal spray,Nicotine gum, and it all failed and Champix which should have come with a very strong health warning, This medication can kill and your are at a high risk of committing suicide on the front of the package.

    I aggree there should be standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes for consumer protection. I do not agree with, That an e-cig would appeal to an non-smoker why would it when that person has never smoked it just does not make any sense.Or an e-cig is appealing to youngster's
    Why should flavours be banned when I first tried a e-cig I hated the tobacco taste and still do, the different flavours that I can use in an e-cig is so much pleasurable if flavours are banned I would be denied my humane right's to vape what ever I choose to vape. I don't tell you or the EU your are not permitted to have sugar in your coffee or not allowed alcohol. I have not lit up a cigarette or had one inhale of one for over 3 years, since I have used an e-cig. If the EU decide to limit the amount of nicotine to 4 or 6 mg/ml then I am denied my human rights.

    I vape between 24 to 36 mg/ml of nicotine in a ml of nicotine
    when I told the Chest Specialist at the hospital that I had given up cigarettes with using an e-cig he gave me all the encouragement to carry on and have the same apply's from my GP.

    I was told 5 year ago that if I did not stop smoking then I would be dead before I was 60 because my lungs are that bad with the misuse of cigarettes,if the EU pass the proposal of limiting the nicotine level that has been suggested. Then I'm afraid I would take up cigarette smoking again, and I think you will find that with most who use an e-cig, and you's will properly run it underground.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Champix should be banned, end of story. It carries a black flag warning in the US yet UK tobacco control say that it should be handed out willy-nilly. This, alone, shows you the power of big pharma over our appalling politicians.

      Delete
  26. Not sure if you have been to the UK consumer association website?
    www.eccauk.org

    The page on the 20% Rule is especially recommended, since it is critical to reducing smoking prevalence past one-fifth of the population.

    Also, the World Vaping Day website has many useful quotes from the medical experts in this area:
    www.world-vaping-day.com/quotes.html

    Chris Price
    ECCA UK Secretary

    ReplyDelete
  27. I too would like to thank you for putting this debate into the public domain. I won't go over most of the topics which have been very well covered above.

    I've been using my ecig for 2years, 8 months, previously I was a heavy smoker of between 30 - 40 roll ups daily for 36 years. Since starting on my ecig I've not touched a cigarette and now can't stand to be any where near them, the smell makes me feel physically ill.

    I'd like to pick up on the point of young people starting to smoke using electronic devices. Whilst it is true that most people turn to cigarette like type devices when they first try and ecig, they do not remain on these devices for long periods as the devices don't deliver what most people need to keep them off cigarette tobacco for long periods. They fail in both longevity of inhalation and experience due to the limitations in the smoking experience that they replicate. After a short period of using these disposable/cheap alternatives most people want something more. When new users start to research different ecigs they often will rely on online forums for advice on the next step. Most new users are advised to try a simple but effective battery and separate atomiser type device such as an Ego, Riva etc., These kits are around £40 then liquid and spare atomizers need to be purchased which brings the initial set up cost to around £50, way out of the price range of most children and young people. Then take into account the fact that most YP's when they start smoking rely on taking the odd cigarette from their parents, if their parents were ecig users this wouldn't be possible as most ecigs don't come in packs of 20. I work with teenagers from improverished backgrounds, most think my ecig is either stupid, way too big and almost all thing it is anything but cool. I use a evic which is very much like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver in looks. The Vamo I use from time to time is bigger than the evic and again most certainly not cool to a YP.

    Flavours are available in whatever your imagination can stretch to, although they may not be exactly the same as the real thing most vendors or DIY mixers like myself can get a good likeness, my current favourite is Peach flavour. I have not touched tobacco flavours from about 2 weeks after I started vaping.

    Like the majority of those who've changed over to ecigarettes I have found a massive improvement in my health over the last two years, I feel it would be a great loss if the EU were allowed to regulate to the extent in which they want to. I use a very low nicotine dose for ecigarettes of around 12 - 15 ml, when I first started I was using 24mg. The small amount of research done in this area seems to indicate that a very low amount of nicotine is actually absorbed from ecigarette vapour, therefore heavy smokers will need much higher concentrations to enable them to quit tobacco smoking for good.

    I would like to just end this by saying that in the time I've been a member of various forums, I've yet to find anyone who's been a serious user of ecigarettes that has returned to tobacco smoking. Several people have had a few failures in the early period after switching but most have persevered and managed to quit tobacco for good. While several more have quit nicotine and gone onto a nicotine free liquid, others have actually quit vaping as well as quitting smoking.

    I really think that legislation should be centred around making sure that vendors use the correct warnings on liquids, most already have the skull and crossbones to warn of the toxic nature of eliquid if incorrectly administered and around health and safety with regard to the batteries used in the Mods and PV's.

    Dee Shercliff

    ReplyDelete
  28. my story 3 yrs ago i started on a e-cig i just wanted to use one down the pub as i hadnt been since the smoking ban i went from 50 rollys to 5 almost straight away a month later i realised i hadnt smoked tobacco for a couple of days i felt so much better i could walk upstairs without getting out of breath, the house smells better , i didnt use one to quit i use one to get my nicotine fix as for flavourings i cant stand tobacco flavours they make me want a real cigarette i much prefer fruit/sweet flavours i have been a 50 a day for 30 yrs i dont want to go back to tobacco but if e-cigs are banned or the mg reduced to a low level i will be back on the fags . nicorette never worked for me these do .please for my lifes sake dont ban these

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the great blog, check out our forum www.planetofthevapes.co.uk for more information about ecigs from real users. We are also supporters of ECITA and are grateful for everything they do in support of proper regulation and laws regarding Ecigs.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This was a email that I sent, I make no apologies for it being personal, because it is, to each and every person that has chosen vaping over smoking: -

    Upon my usual daily trawl of the internet, in amongst looking at' cute cat picture's and the odd funny clip on Youtube, I came across a message on a forum, explaining that you were seeking information in respect of the upcoming EU directive looking at the future of eCigs. Now I felt compelled to write this email in response to that call. Unfortunately, I cant give you facts and figures, I am not a stakeholder, and I am certainly not an expert, although, I can point you in the direction of some! But what I can give you, is the insight, and the personal benefits I have encountered since using them.

    I am a father of 2 kids, aged 42, getting fatter and going grey, I have worked all my adult life, and have always done the best I can by my family, not always got the desired results, but hey thats life. However, the one thing that I have always regretted is that I took up smoking. I had been a smoker for 24 years, I have tried without success every NRT on the market. It always starts the same way, determination to succeed, gear up to the big day, start, and then fail miserably. Letting all those people in my life that mean something to me down, not only does that knock your confidence, but makes you feel a total failure.

    I then grasp at straws, well I have friends, I have family, I have a good job, I am a success, right? No, the one piece of the jigsaw puzzle is missing, Im not complete, because I smoke.

    A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the use of eCigs or Vaping, did some research, joined a very informative forum, and spoke to some suppliers. May I hasten to add that no one tried to sell the concept to me along with any products. I started to see that this could be my way of breaking free from Tobacco, no longer did I feel alone with my experiences or desire to quit, I saw what it had done for others.

    In January, I took the plunge, I purposely bought a kit that did not look like a cigarette, and started to use it. The first time I put it to my lips and inhaled, my life changed in an instant. I have not touched tobacco since. My life has changed, I feel happy, bordering on smugness. I can smell again, I can taste again, I can even hear the birds chirping in the morning. But most important of all, is the relief I see on my kids faces, that I have taken the first steps to quitting for good. I have started to reverse the negative health effects that come as a part of the package from smoking. Getting a hug off my daughter without her moaning I smell, is really up there with things that I have achieved.

    Now I know, there are some unknown quantities with Vaping, and more tests have to be undertaken, and whilst I do not have a list of letters after my name, or studied a doctorate, it does not take a professional to work out a few things.

    1. I have a NRT spray here, that I purchased over the counter of a well known pharmacy, and the list of ingredients is over twice what I inhale from vaping. Of the 4 ingredients that are in the mixture I use, all 4 are present in the spray, as well as plenty of others. So if the NRT spray is deemed medically safe, then there is a better chance, that the liquid dare I say it is safer.

    2. The carcinogenics that are contained in amongst the 4000 chemicals in normal cigarettes are not present in vaping in any form. Therefore, even in the simplest terms, Vaping is safer.

    Please I am asking you to really consider the people like me and countless thousands of others who have found an escape from the slavery of tobacco by this means, because my future optimism is only tempered by the worry that the wrong decision will be made by yourselves. This will result in thousands of people like myself returning to tobacco, and again putting our health at risk, and feeling yet again as a failure in life. This will also 'close an avenue' to future sufferers to experience the wonders of the journey that I have made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Please I am asking you to really consider the people like me and countless thousands of others who have found an escape from the slavery of tobacco by this means, because my future optimism is only tempered by the worry that the wrong decision will be made by yourselves. This will result in thousands of people like myself returning to tobacco, and again putting our health at risk, and feeling yet again as a failure in life. This will also 'close an avenue' to future sufferers to experience the wonders of the journey that I have made."

      Well said Andy and it has the sort of despair I feel over the virtual banning of ecigs as we know them.
      I'm horrified at the thought I may have to return to tobacco to feed my nicotine/hand to mouth addiction.
      Absolutely horrified, I thought I'd left all that behind me.
      It's a horrible future for me and my family, just because I can't give up cold turkey. (I've tried and tried, but I always go back to horrible cigarettes)

      The alternative is black market imports of nicotine and mixing my own juice.

      Neither are a good option. MEP's are playing with our lives here, I hope they realise that.

      Delete
    2. see my post Womble, you can make your own nicotine too,and its not difficult, a very very scary prospect on the health front! like you I am horrified at the thought of losing my PV and my independence from the evil cancer stick.

      Delete
  31. firstly I would like to thank you for opening up your blog to this discussion. It cannot be over estimated just how passionate the 'vaping' community and their friends and families are about this subject.


    You ha already been in receipt of many well written and informative responses and I feel sure you will not be starved of thoughts on this matter for some time.

    I would like to pick up on the point of normalisation.

    Sadly it would seem that smoking rates are increasing in the younger age groups. Why? We live in a society where smoking has become tantamount to the worse possible decision you can make. Since 2007 we have seen the associated health risks of second hand smoke plummet. We live in a society where tobacco is not afforded the luxury of advertising. Boxes and packets are adorned with distressing and graphic pictures. Smoking tobacco products is not seen as appropriate before the water shed. It is avoided entirely in action or even mention during films aimed at young or family audiences. Cigarettes are hidden behind silver doors in supermarkets. Schools and parents educate and inform our children of the terrifying dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke. Adverts attempt to shock smokers into quitting. The NHS spend upwards of £150 million a year on cessation services and pharmaceutical products. Smoking adults tend to avoid indulging in their habit near or even in view of children.


    So in this society, that has worked very hard to denormalise smoking tobacco. This society that has never been protected from the dangers of cigarettes. So educated. This society that has seen smokers turned into the very scourge of humanity. Why are children taking the habit up in larger numbers than last year?


    Electronic cigarettes play no part in this. WILL play no part in this. The rise is likely to do with the hysterical demonisation of tobacco smoking and cigarettes. It would appear that we have succeeded in making cigarettes appealing again. We have made them interesting, 'What's behind the silver doors mum?'.


    The very idea that 'vaping' could renormalise smoking is absurd. It cannot ever be renormalised, we have come too far.

    The argument that a young adult would go to the effort of acquiring a bubblegum flavour fluid as a gateway to to vile tasting tobacco at either an illegal or legal age, is equally absurd.


    What IS terrifying is that all of the misinformation and scaremongering surrounding these devices could well take them out of the hands of millions of people who no longer burn tobacco into their lungs.

    WORSE are all the hands they may never reach. Millions and millions of hands. This is a solution that most of us have turned too after failing everything else. We have read the books, covered ourselves in patches, popped pills, chewed gum. We all gave up the idea that a doctor could help us. Most hardened smokers wouldn't even GO to a doctor as the sad truth is, we didn't want to stop.


    If the handing out of generic tobacco flavoured electronic cigarettes becomes the preserve of the NHS, those millions just won't get it. They won't ask and will never know.


    If, with the misguided ideology that we will encourage the uptake of tobacco use, this method and the ease of obtaining it is taken away, who from the EU or the government is going to sit down with my children and explain that mums life could have been saved. Who is going to comfort them? All the children? The mums, dads, friends? All of them!


    Tobacco is a terrible addiction and if you don't know what it is like, then I do not wish it upon you. I enjoy vaping my lovely flavours. I LOVE the fact that I don't have to look at my children and wonder if they are going to have to bury me while they still need me because I just could not rid myself of it.


    Please think of my kids, but don't let others use them as an excuse.

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  32. To continue:-
    I do not believe that e-cigarettes would be attractive to children unless they were banned. Young people tend to be rebelliousness and think they are invulnerable. Like me, they started smoking tobacco because their friends did. I have even found children collecting the shock pictures on British cigarette packs! I do believe that there should be a legal age limit on their sale although reputable vendors in the UK do all they can to not sell to under 18s. We do know exactly what is in eliquid as the same ingredients have been used in NRT and many other things for years. The latest independent studies now show the absorption rate for nicotine in e-cigarettes, there are studies that show that the only children to have tried them already smoked tobacco. I would have no problem with vendors having to list all ingredients on labels although the details required by law now mean that one needs a magnifying glass to read it all.
    I think that the UK laws for the regulation of electronic cigarettes and eliquid are adequate but possibly we need more trading standards officers to enforce them.
    As for 'renormalising smoking', my personal experience has been the opposite. Apart from young people, who laugh at my personal vapouriser, many smokers are fascinated by it, ask to try it, ask where they can buy one, and a number of friends and colleagues have now switched from smoking to vaping. I live in sheltered retirement housing and several residents in their 80s have now switched from smoking to vaping.
    The reason for banning smoking in public places was to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke. If vapers have to share shelters with smokers then we would be the only non-smokers still forced to inhale those toxic fumes.
    The majority of vapers do not plan to give up nicotine. In fact recent evidence seems to point to nicotine improving memory and concentration. But if the part of the TPD that virtually bans e-cigarettes by limiting the amount of nicotine for recreational use to that of a meal containing a lot of aubergine and requiring anything higher to become NRT, then the tobacco companies will be the main manufacturers and people like myself will never have the chance to switch from the dangerous habit of smoking to the much safer, maybe up to 99% safer, habit of vaping. If this directive is passed as it stands now, probably over 7 million adults throughout the EU, including probably at least a million in Britain, will return to smoking overnight.
    The EU would have lost the opportunity to allow consumers to choose to stop smoking with this miraculous innovation and those of us who have switched, plus current smokers who will become more likely to stop smoking and start vaping, will be condemned to a slow, premature and painful death. In effect the EU would be legislating to kill its citizens.

    As has been mentioned before there is now a lot of independent research available. I am sure that you are aware of the pharmaceutical industry publishing selected research, as I believe that the EU hopes to force that industry to be completely transparent. Therefore I urge you to give greater weight to independent studies than those funded by pharmaceutical companies that see a risk to their sales of NRT and drugs for sick smokers.

    Please consider the evidence provided by the industry and that provided by such as Prof. Konstantinos Farsalinos, Clive Bates, former head of ASH, Prof. John Britton and the many other experts who say that electronic cigarettes are far, far safer than smoking and if all smokers started vaping then 5 million people alive in the UK today will not die prematurely from smoking.

    Thank you for asking for the views of the consumers, the people who use these devices.

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  33. I was a young 17 year old boy when I lost my father, prematurely to a smoking related disease (COPD). I had already been smoking myself since the age of 14. This pointless loss made me hate cigarettes with a passion and I tried to give up. I then understood why my Dad was hooked on these things, despite the fact he could hardly breathe at this time. I tried and tried and in those days there were NO NRT's available. After several months I gave up trying to give up as I was hooked. plain and simple.

    I'm now 46 and look at my 17 year old daughter and had resigned myself that I would inflict the same suffering that I had to endure at her age. Quite a depressive thought that paradoxically let to me reaching for the comfort I have for so many years drawn from tobacco (despite hating the damn product). Even after a cancer scare in late 2012, I tried again but I knew that, despite the last 10 years of trying many times with patches, gum, inhalaters, even Hypnotherapy, I was already pre-disposed to fail as the many types of NRT's on the market today, quite frankly did nothing for me.

    Over Christmas the E-Lite company had quite an intensive TV and Radio campaign. My wife (who is also a life long smoker), bought a single one to try. I was absolutely astonished that it hit the spot like a real cigarette. To try and make it affordable (as they don't quite last as long as the manufacturers claim) I looked into the possibility of re-filling the cartridges. I then entered the world of 'Vaping' having never heard of the term before.

    I now have a selection of vaping devices and a wide selection of what has been termed 'E-Juice' in differing flavours and strengths.

    Today has been the 45th day in a row that I have not had a normal cigarette. I now consider myself a none-smoker and look forward to actually being around in 10 years or so for my Daughter's wedding. In my opinion, E-Cigs have literally saved my life. I feel so much better, no longer have the smokers morning cough (that used to last all day if I'm honest) and 30 days ago was the last time I had to use my Asthma inhaler. Something I had to carry around and was as important to me as my tobacco tin. I am finally FREE. and I cant tell you how invigorating it feels!

    It is therefore with great dismay and distress that I read a couple of weeks ago that one of the big tobacco companies have bought out an American E-cig company and is part of the drive to reclassify the e-juice (necessary to make the e-cigs work) as a regulated medicine. Forgive me for being cynical, but an industry that have for many, many years enjoyed a captive audience due to selling a product that is highly addictive, wants to re-grade a product that a) they have not invented and b) negates the addiction to their product by making this solution as ineffective as most NRT's today? I hope you can see through this.

    I do not need the EU to tell me that I am not allowed to buy a 24mg / ml 'e-juice' as the alternative is simple. I would ultimately turn back to normal tobacco products.

    Nicotine addiction is NOT ILLEGAL. If it was, why have the sale of cigarettes not been banned? What I choose is a SAFE delivery system. I believe that is MY right to choose.

    And my daughter has the right for her dad to walk her down the aisle at some point in the future.

    I will repeat it again. E-Cigs HAVE SAVED MY LIFE. Do not let the EU undo this.

    Kind regards

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  34. Firstly a big thank you for making your blog an avenue where us vapers can have our say. I know this is widely appreciated. There have been some excellent points made above, by fellow vapers and all I could say to answer your questions have been covered more than once. Therefore I do not wish to subject you to further repetition, instead I would like to tell you my personal story and hopefully illustrate why vaping means so much to so many, and what my, and many others, lives would be like if this innovation was banned (which the current regulations would effectively do. I may have to write this in two parts but shall try and keep it to one.

    Throughout my childhood I was a bit of a goody twoshoes. I enjoyed school (especially the work) I did not smoke, and if I had a drink it would be at home and approved by my mum.

    Because I lived in a fairly rough town, this was a long way from the norm and consequently I was rather badly bullied, but at the time I stayed strong and refused to change. I got into university and did a year there. During my second year, I had a massive mental break down which resulted in me needing to leave. I began self harming quite severely (i still carry the many scars) and had numerous attempts at ending my life. I spent a few years in and out of mental health wards, and many an attempt to stop harming. As part of my self destructive attitude I began to smoke. This to my surprise I found helpful with the self harm urges, and I smoked more than I'd intended in order not to harm. As you can imagine I very soon became addicted. I was however able to break the self harm cycle.

    As a child I had been mildly asthmatic, as it often does this settled during my teens, however I'd still have at least one chest infection every year often over Christmas, so I did not have the strongest lungs.

    Shortly after beginning to smoke I got another chest infection. Only this time I ended up in hospital unable to breathe - the asthma had returned fairly strongly.

    I knew I should stop smoking but couldn't bear the thought of the depression recurring. So I ignored the warning signs for the first attack, eventually I convinced myself that because when I smoked it actually cleared my chest for a short while, they couldn't be contributing to my asthma. Stupid I know but as an addict I made any excuse to continue, logical or not. After a few years and several stays in hospital and even more times of chest infections /nebulisers/ emergency doctor trips, I realised I needed to quit, and had several attempts. I was never successful for more than 12 months. (Normally no more than two months) I tried different NRTs, which barely helped, the 12 months which was my longest was when I'd gone cold turkey. The problem was sooner or later the depression would become worse again and I'd turn to my old saviour.

    La

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    1. Last year I lost my Nan who I was extremely close to having watched her over a period of 15 years becoming poorlier and poorlier due to smoking related illnesses. I was also at the point where I'd be getting 3-4 colds a year, each of which would lead to a chest infection and asthma flare up, the best I could expect from this would be anti biotics and steroids for a week or two, as well as being thoroughly ill and unable to do anything. I would count myself lucky in this scenario as most of the time on top of that would be admission to hospital, sometimes via ambulance. I knew I needed to stop, I didn't want to end up in the same scenario as my Nan.

      I tried cold turkey, that lasted 48 hours at the most. So I researched and found electronic cigarettes. I started on a look a like not convinced it would work. It did. The nicotine hit and the action kept the depression at bay. I still felt like I was smoking. I also began to feel better and better, my inhaler was used less and less. That was a year ago. Since then I have had one cold. Just a cold. No chest infection, no asthma attack, not even a need to take my inhalers. Just a cold.

      The thought of smoking again makes me feel physically sick. I walk by current smokers and the smell disgusts me. In previous attempts the smell would make me long for one. Even after 12 months.

      I know this is my personal story but I can draw parallels with the majority of other vapers. We all know we should quit. We've all had several failed attempts. We have all managed to quit almost pain free thanks to ecigs. We're all terrified that they are going to be banned and we'll mainly go back to tobacco or buy things on the black market to allow us to continue, which of course will have less regulations and more chance of contamination than the stuff we can buy now which is regulated by ecita, trading standards etc, we all know that we are still addicted to nicotine. We all know how unharmless our new way of vaping is compared to tobacco. we all enjoy flavours other than tobacco. But msinly we all hope the EU will do the right thing and not condemn many of us to an early death simply because of ignorance and prejudice.

      Delete
  35. Hi Rebecca,
    I have recently started using a PV (e-cigarette), having smoked 75g of rolling tobacco per week for over 25 years.
    I am currently using 24mg/ml liquid, and am horrified to hear the proposals that it could be cut to 4mg/ml. I believe this would be the quickest route to me going back to tobacco cigarettes and slowly killing myself in the process. I do aim to lower my nicotine intake, but while adjusting, this is the level i need.

    As has been said before, my PV (e-cigarette) has saved my life. Please do not let Europe take that away from me.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Rebecca
    Thanks for giving myself and others the opportunity to air our views and personal experiences.
    Virtually all of the points I wish to make have been previously covered with many links to scientific research , independent medical opinion . Use of e-cigs or PV. are indisputably safer than using tobacco cigarettes and even though not marketed as such they do produce health benefits like a lowering of blood pressure and improved breathing .

    The key point for users of PV. is that virtually without exception all 1 million are ex-smokers ie. they were not solely vapers they arrived here from using tobacco cigarettes . Equally true is that the vast majority have either ceased or substantially cut down their tobacco cigarette ( or roll-up / cigars)consumption .
    This is rapidly becoming such a popular activity in present day Britain and Europe that it will take a mighty effort by the politicians to interfere and will prove hugely unpopular . Please bear in mind that the "vapers" are no financial burden to the NHS. or to the equivalent in the rest of Europe , if Draconian rules on nicotine strength are imposed there will be a significant cost transfer to the NHS from increased smoking numbers.
    Ignore all of my previous comments if you wish but I would like to tell you a little of myself.

    I am a 60yo. law abiding 40/day ex-smoker who had smoked for 45 years with all of the usual complaints of breathlessness, coughing fits etc.etc . I started PV. about 3 months ago and that has totally transformed my lifestyle through vastly improved health .
    I use e-juice of strengths 18-24mg./ml. and would not like a limit of less than 75 mg./ml. which is the current agreed limit in the UK. Not one single case of "poisoning" or children drinking out of a container has been recorded - we are after all responsible adults.
    As a last point I have no wish to curtail or reduce my nicotine content , I consider (along with far more eminent experts)that it is no more harmful to me than caffeine , why should I have either pleasure removed?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks Rebecca for taking the time to post this and invite comment.

    Thank you also for resisting the reflex urge to opt for pharmaceutical regulation.

    I would go further: vaping is at a tipping point currently. Over-regulation now will literally cost lives in the short term. A 4% limit on nicotine levels will constitue a de facto ban and will drive hundreds of thousands of vapers back to smoking.

    Please, please don't do this.

    There is a real opportunity here, perhaps for the first time ever, to put smoking to bed forever. I mean forever.

    Concerns about renormalisation are understandable but are usually voiced by non-smokers. Any ex-smoking vaper will tell you that traditional cigarettes seem utterly disgusting once you have started vaping.

    There is a natural contingency here that prevents people from taking up smoking via vaping.

    Like many others who have switched, I welcome sensible, practical proposals to regulate vaping as a consumer product, perhaps in its own category: after all such regulation is enforced for dietary supplements already.

    But please, please do not support risk-averse and punitive measures directed at something that has changed my life (and the lives of millions of ex-smokers) immeasurably for the better.

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    1. The proposed limit is 0.4% (4mg/ml).

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  38. The only thing I would do is regulate liquid so it has to be made by compliant manufacturers. No more bedroom mixing. I.E. the existing laws are fine just need to be enforced. A nominal license fee for retailers and a basic course/training and a easy reporting method for people not following CHIP.

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  39. I believe that my local MEP has forwarded my comments to you and am impressed that you are taking on board all stories from current users. My story is very much the same as everyone else. The only addition I can make now is to highlight the fact that electronic cigarettes need to be seen as HARM REDUCTION by the EU and the powers need to take this as an opportunity to save millions of people from an early,painful death. 4 mg/ml is far too low to keep people from going back to normal tobacco cigarettes. And to add that I use a multitude of flavours, none of which are tobacco related as I need to keep away from the memory of tobacco in order to stay off them. I am doing this for my wife, my children and myself in that order. I do not want the only option left available to me should this directive go through as is- to go back to smoking death sticks. Nicotine is not an enemy! Thank you for your time.

    ReplyDelete
  40. thanks for your time

    I am trying to stay away from cig,s , sept last year was the last time I had one , thank god

    If the e u go the way they seem to be going , my health will return to sept lat year , the cough will be back, this is the last thing I want

    Why do the e u not understand flavours in e cig,s , mine is cherry by the way, the last thing I want is to be reminded of normal tobacco , I can,t stand the taste of even tobacco flavoured e liquid now

    Please don,t go down the route of making this a tobacco or even worse a medicine , I'm not ill , please sort out a way to regulate my e cig , it,s already better for me please make it better not worse


    Thanks
    Malcolm goddard

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  41. Rebecca, I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to see an MEP with an open mind.

    Here's my two pennarth (actually, more than two pennarth, more like a couple of bob's worth, it's hard to stop evangelising about something that's changed my life) :


    * While it is clear that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, nicotine does have some negative health effects, but the long term health impacts of using e-cigarettes are currently unknown;

    The general consensus is that e-cigarettes are not just far less harmful, they're probably in excess of 99% less harmful. Maybe about as dangerous as a cup of tea.

    * Expanding on the previous point, it may be appropriate to require e-cigarettes to come with a general health warning such as "may damage your health" until evidence is available to make a more precise warning;

    The danger of this is that if you tell people who already smoke that e-cigarettes may damage your health, you're effectively telling them that there's no point in switching, as they're already using a nicotine delivery system (analogue cigarettes) that harms them anyway. There's a very real possiblity that you'll discourage the very people you're trying to reach.


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  42. Can I just add as well that I do not use anything that looks or resembles a cigarette. If you would like I could send you some photos of what I use.Then tell me these "normalise" cigarettes. There is a massive cottage and mass production industry developing both in the Uk and world wide that would be destroyed in an instant by the words and views of the uneducated.

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  43. * There are currently no standards in relation to the quality and safety of e-cigarettes, something which needs to be rectified for reasons of consumer protection;

    As others have said, e-cigarettes are already covered by Trading Standards, in much the same way as bleach and other household items are covered.

    * The aim of regulation should be to keep e-cigarettes available as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers,

    Agreed.

    * while taking every precaution to ensure their use does not "renormalise" smoking and that they are not marketed in a way that broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people.

    The downside of this approach is that you're effectively pushing ex-smokers who now vape to the fringes. This is exactly the opposite of what (I believe) you should be doing. What (I believe) you should be considering is NORMALISING vaping. By doing that you'll help current smokers to see that vaping is a socially acceptable activity. As more and more people begin to vape, those people who, like myself, didn't want to quit the pleasures of nicotine but wanted the smoking monkey off my back will see that they'll achieve public approval instead of the sneers and fake coughs that us vapers are currently subjected to by ignorant anti-smokers and smokers alike.

    I'm probably not phrasing that very well. Let me try to say it another way.

    If you normalise vaping, you're more likely to get current smokers to make the switch. By denormalising it, you're just giving the less adventurous smokers another reason to not try these newfangled devices.

    ReplyDelete
  44. * it may be necessary to subject e-cigarettes to marketing restrictions such as minimum age of purchase requirements,

    Agreed, makes sense.

    * forbidding free samples or below cost pricing,

    This doesn't, you want to encourage people to make the switch, not discourage it.

    * a ban on characterising flavours (e.g. chocolate)

    This would be a terrible mistake. Once that I'd discovered vaping could genuinely take the place of smoking for me, the very first thing I did was go on a journey to find out exactly what flavours I could vape all day. Like other users here have said, it doesn't take long for your sense of taste to come back when you stop smoking and it was the very variety of different flavours that encouraged me to invest money in vaping instead of smoking. I've just checked my tackle box, which holds the majority of my vaping gear, and I'm the proud (and probably slightly insane) owner of some 122 different flavours. Now, most folks won't need that many, however I was determined that vaping is going to work for me, and fiddling with receipes is one of the things that help.


    * Following on from the previous point, e-cigarettes used in public places where smoking is forbidden or in front of children would also contribute to "renormalisation", so steps should be taken to avoid this, for example restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

    If you do this, you're placing barriers in the way of the very people you're trying to save. One of the many advantages of taking up vaping instead of smoking was that I'm now able to enjoy a pint and a puff in my local pub again, without standing out in the cold (of which we've had far too much this winter). Like many smokers, there was little I enjoyed more than "a fag and a pint", and the smoking ban pretty much put a stop to that, indeed I can count on two hands how many times my partner and I went to the pub after the ban, before we took up vaping. Since discovering e-cigarettes we've found that we're able to enjoy our drinks again without dreading the trip to stand outside the door. If you renormalise vaping, then you can be sure that others will feel the same way and this can only be a good thing for our flagging pub trade.




    In the end, you'll do what you feel you should do, however I hope that you'll consider some of the things that vapers have been trying to tell you. We're not saying these things because we resist change, if we did, we wouldn't have taken up vaping in the first place, instead we would have stuck to burning tobacco. E-cigarettes have proven phenomenally effective at removing smoking from the lives of so many people who enjoy using nicotine. Research has shown that they're probably AT LEAST 50% effective, some estimates suggest that they can be up to 80% effective although IMO that's probably a little high. I can tell you that of the 4 people I've encouraged to switch, 3 of them have done so.

    The TPD's stated aim is to reduce smoking levels by 2%. JUST two percent! This is such a colossal expenditure for such a small gain. If vaping were properly encouraged by the EU, instead of controlled into obscurity, you have a chance to convert that paltry 2% to 50%, all at no cost to the NHS. I'll bet in your wildest dreams, you never thought that was a realistic goal.

    As of the year 2000 there were estimated to be 1.2 billion smokers in the world. Imagine if half of those 1.2 billion people switched to vaping, something I believe entirely possible if the EU embraces e-cigarettes properly. I'm sure many other countries would soon follow suit and you'd quite likely have a chance of, instead of helping 24 million smokers to quit the hard way, to help 600 million quit the easy way.



    I am not affiliated with the vaping, smoking or pharma industries, just an extremely relieved user of e-cigarettes (26mg).

    ReplyDelete
  45. Dear Rebecca

    Thank you for taking an interest in how important this issue is to the community of 'vapers' who use electronic cigarettes, although I don't like using the word 'cigarettes' as they aren't a cigarette at all and are nothing like them. In my opinion and I'm sure many others too, they would be better to be known by their alternative name of PV's, Personal Vapouriser. The only thing they have in common with a cigarette is a small amount of nicotine. There's no passive smoking, no smell, no ash, no flame, no carcinogens and most importantly no death from using them.
    Personally, the only disagreement I have is the manufacturing of the cigarette 'look-a-likes'. They should be any other colour other than white, with no light up ends to simulate flame.
    I have several large "e. cigarettes", none of which look anything like a real cigarette and couldn't be mistaken for one.

    Just over a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with early onset COPD. I was told if I carried on smoking, I would die prematurely, then I discovered vaping and haven't touched a cigarette since, in fact the smell of them makes me feel sick. I don't even like tobacco flavoured or menthol vaping liquid as it reminds me too much of cigarettes, so I use mainly fruit flavours, sometimes coffee.
    About 15 months ago, I was discharged from the clinic I was attending as my breathing had returned to normal and the COPD damage was found to have stopped progressing and had halted. The specialist and my GP amended my records to 'non-smoker.' My GP is aware that I am a vaper and is very happy for me to continue. He agreed that vaping, as an alternative to cigarettes was a far safer way for ex. smokers to get the nicotine they desire.

    I'd like to cover just two of of many issues that have been raised by some MEP's if I may.

    "Non smokers could start using electronic cigarettes".

    Apart from the fact that as has been mentioned, they are not 'cool', if a non smoker isn't interested in tobacco cigarettes, why would they have have any interest in an electronic one, it wouldn't appeal.

    "Children could drink the liquid."

    Children could drink any liquid kept in the home, bleach, disinfectant, beer, spirits, contents of bottles of medicines etc.. Responsible adults should all be aware that hazardous substances of any description need to be kept out of children's reach, preferably in locked cupboards or fridges.
    Children could also swallow NRT patches, gums etc. too.
    (It should be noted that e. liquid bottles have childproof caps.)

    The biggest concern for all vapers is that e.cigarettes will be classed as NRT, as this is definitely not their intended use. The proposed 4mg of nicotine is absolutely worthless to an 'established' vaper, the fact that it would only be available as tobacco or possibly menthol flavour is just as worthless, many of us want to 'get away' from such flavours, therefore the only viable option for many of us, if this is enforced, will be to revert to smoking cigarettes and we will be back to square one with all the risks again. Who will take the responsibility for the deaths that it will inevitably cause? This cannot be allowed to happen, thousands of peoples lives are at stake.

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    1. i just would like to add to your comment Anne if you will permit me too about poisonous substances in the home, as you rightly point out there are many that are dangerous. i tried the mint lozenges and my grandaughter showed a great deal of interst in them believing them to be mints, i of course explaned to her they where not for children and they where grandma's pills, i think these products are far more dangerous to children some having a very pleasant taste, and could easily be mistaken for actual mints, some in simalar packaging to tic tac mints. If u have ever got the tinyist amout of an e-liquid on your tongue, no matter what the flavour, they are very very bitter and unpleasant, no one would drink this liquid, they only way it tastes pleasant is as it is meant to be used and that is with a PV, the bottles are not made 'pretty' and are no way inviting to a childs eye.

      Delete
  46. These are what vapers use they are normal to us but I dont think they normalise smoking,anymore than drinking fruit juice normalises drinking beer.
    http://ukvapers.org/Thread-What-is-In-Your-Hand-Right-Now?highlight=whats+in+your+hand

    ReplyDelete
  47. Rebecca,
    Thank-you for allowing comments. My own story is similar to many of those above & I won't bore you with the details except to say that after trying unsuccessfully to quit cigs many times, I found e-cigs last July and have been vaping 18 to 24mg/ml flavoured juice since then without a single cigarette.
    Linda McAvan has referred to the RAPEX reported issues with e-cigs several times as evidence of the need for regulation. I have looked at the database and, it seems to me, that existing UK legislation is more than adequate.
    Since 2005 (Yes 2005 to date!) there were a total of 14 cases.
    6 cases related to electrical safety. (5 UK, 1 Finland)
    7 cases related to general labelling. (5 in France,1 Germany, 1 UK)
    1 case where a bottle labelled 0 nicotine contained 0.8% nicotine (Greece)
    All of the products concerned originated in China.
    This leads me to conclude that the Rapex evidence supports existing UK regulation more than adequately.
    If Rapex is used as support for regulation, then we must also ban children's toys since there are over 400 reports for them :)

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    1. The interesting thing about RAPEX is that it is part of an existing regulatory framework - the general consumer protection framework that ensures most products are adequately safe, work as intended and are properly described. It gives the lie to the claim that e-cigarettes are unregulated. They are not - they are regulated as consumer products and RAPEX worked as designed.

      Delete
  48. I was a smoker for 53 years, tried all the NRT products and failed to quit my 20 a day habit, 2years ago I tried an e-cig one of the look alikes it worked, so I moved on to an Ego style and in two years I have not touched Tobacco, I use 18mg juice which just satisfies my needs, for the EU to regulate 4mg if ridiculous and would not work for me, so like 80% 0f current vapours it would be back to Tobacco a very retrograde step, but I never intended to quit Nicotine but use a 98% safer alternative.
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  49. Rebecca,
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  51. Dear Ms Taylor - it is great to see an open-minded interest in taking the right approach to tobacco harm reduction. I really appreciate your stance. Excessive regulation of low-risk alternatives to smoking would be highly counter-productive, and you are right to be sceptical about regulating these products as medicines - not only would it impose great burdens and barriers to innovation, it would do nothing to protect children, and would most likely be unlawful. Please have a look at my briefing: Are e-cigarettes medicines?. Four courts in the EU have so far thrown out attempts to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines.

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    As one of your constituents [as a resident of God's own county]. I'd just like to echo what others have said here about the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking. I've been tobacco free for just over a year now after smoking for nearly 25 years. I've previously tried various methods to quit, without success. I can honestly say this has improved my health dramatically and possibly saved the NHS a fortune in treating me, through either cessation clinics or future treatment for smoking related illness.

    I understand that this industry probably does need some level of governance and regulation. However, I fear that if a overly restrictive approach is taken it may have an adverse affect by either forcing people back into smoking and/or driving the production and acquisition of e-liquid underground, much like the way that people can acquire 'tobacco' products with dubious provenance at the moment. Care has to be taken to not regulate this activity into a position similar to the one in the US in the era of prohibition of alcohol.

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  55. As we all know that Electronic Cigarettes were originally designed to be an alternative to smoking. But, what if these tobacco companies decided to manufacture/create their own line of ecigarettes? I mean who else can better imitate the flavors that made smokers addicted for years than those from the well-known tobacco brands namely British American Tobacco(BAT), Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.

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    1. Jessica let the tobacco companies manufacture their own line of e-cigs. that would be no problem for me AS LONG as its in addition to not instead of existing products . That way its up to the consumer to decide which they prefer in terms of taste, price, availability.
      The problem of course is if the EU. decide to try to pass legislation that classes all e-cigs as medicinal and so requires all of the manufacturers to obtain licences to sell their product . That would unduly favour the large tobacco and pharma. giants who have vastly higher resources to do this .
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  57. rebecca as a constituent i have written to you several time recently regarding this topic, and have to say that your first correspondance was not encouraging. a standard lib/dem i also received from your colleagues. after reading this blog i must say i am encourage , and can only assume you have reached these conclusions through study of actual facts. you are basically stating what we, as user, are all campaigning for. regulations on quality, and age limit to buy, safe equipment and product. just your final points still give me cause for concern. the fact that these are flavoured is by no means a way to attract new users. there are of course smokers who like the taste of tobacco, but, certainly no one i know smokes tobacco for the taste, and a great many vapers agree the tobacco liquid is not pleasant. i myslef enjoy the fruit flavours, and it goes to confirm my view of myself even more as a non-smoker. also your final point about regulating whether we can vape in public places is mute. this shows still a lack on your part of the abilty to distinguish completely between vaping and smoking. we will not be 'normalising' smoking - we would be and ARE encouraging vaping. and you must remember smoking was banned in public places on a health issue, of passive smoking, which is not an issue shared with vaping.

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  60. I am also heartened that an MEP is taking the time to debate this important matter in public - thank you!
    I was until 6 months ago a smoker of 35+ years. I now use a Personal Vapouriser (PV), which has no resemblance to a cigarette, to obtain my nicotine.
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    1. Since writing my post, i think there is something i have found on the internet that you may be interested to hear about Rebecca, i have found various web sites that have a step by step guide on how to make your own e-liquid and how to extract nicotine from a very easy to get and readily available substance called tobacco, people would undoubtly use all sorts of different oils to mix it with,I find this worrying as average people doing this would not be skilled enough to know how safe their home made product would be. at present the e-liquid is cheap and easy to buy, making e-liquid much to troublesome to be bothered with the messy process of making your own, and when it already comes clearly marked with its indgridients and strengths, why would you want too. not me thats for sure, but if this product is given over to medicines, NRT'S and a 4mg limit placed on it, i and many others would probably resort to making our own, I think this is most definately food for thought.

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