Taking action on smoking and health
New rules on the sale of e-cigarettes, including banning sales to under-18s and establishing a register of shops selling the devices, will come into effect from 1 April.
The UK Government has published the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations implementing measures of the Tobacco Products Directive. Part 6 deals with regulations on electronic cigarettes. The UK Government has chosen not to "gold-plate" the directive, with the result that non-nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and liquids will not fall under its provisions.
The Office of National Statistics has released its latest figures on e-cigarette use. The ONS estimates that there are 2.2 million e-cigarette users in Great Britain, 59% of whom "dual use" the devices along with tobacco cigarettes.
53% of vapers said that the main reason they use the devices is to quit smoking, while 22% cited health concerns. 74% of those who no longer use e-cigarettes now smoke tobacco.
Public Health England has released an evidence review on e-cigarettes, concluding that the devices are 95% less harmful than lit tobacco. The review has proven controversial, with the Lancet publishing an editorial criticising its conclusions.
26 December 2014
Featured research: 07 April 2014Brown J, West R, Beard E, Michie S, Shahab L, McNeil A. Prevalence and characteristics of e-cigarette users in Great Britain: Findings from a general population survey of smokers. Addictive Behaviors, Volume 39, Issue 6, June 2014, Pages 1120–1125.E-cigarettes may be effective smoking cessation aids and their use by smokers has been growing rapidly. It is important to observe and assess natural patterns in the use of e-cigarettes whilst experimental data accumulates. This paper reports the prevalence of e-cigarette awareness, beliefs and usage, including brand choice, and characterises the socio-demographic and smoking profile associated with current use, among the general population of smokers and recent ex-smokers.
MHRA announcement 12 June 2013
All nicotine-containing products (NCPs), such as electronic cigarettes, are to be regulated as medicines in a move to make these products safer and more effective to reduce the harms of smoking. The UK Government has decided that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will regulate all NCPs as medicines so that people using these products have the confidence that they are safe, are of the right quality and work. This announcement follows a public consultation on how to regulate these products which demonstrated widespread support for medicines regulation from the public health community. Scientific and market research into their safety and quality, including how they are used, has underpinned this decision. Recent public health guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supports the use of licensed nicotine products in helping people to cut down or stop smoking but the quality of NCPs can vary considerably which is why licensing them as medicines will allow people to have the confidence that they are safe, are of the right quality and work. The UK Government will press for EU law to create a Europe-wide legal position on NCPs as medicines through the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. The European Commission has said it expects the new legislation to be adopted in 2014 and for it to come into effect in the UK from 2016. From that point, all NCPs will require a medicine licence. This will allow time for manufacturers to ensure that their products meet the safety, quality and efficacy requirements of a medicine. Until that law is in place, the MHRA would encourage those manufacturers with unlicensed products currently on the market to apply for a medicine licence.
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.