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E-cigarette regulation

Our preferred approach to regulating Vapour Products (e-cigarettes)

The use of Vapour Products (e-cigarettes) that are manufactured to robust quality and safety standards is considered potentially less risky to health than smoking conventional cigarettes. That’s why we believe e-cigarettes should not be regulated in the same way as cigarettes.

We think overly restrictive regulation, such as bans or excise taxes similar to those for regular cigarettes, could be counterproductive because it may stifle growth and innovation, and prevents smokers becoming aware of and accessing them. Different products need to be regulated appropriately according to their risk profile.

We think regulations should reflect the growing acceptance among many health professionals that nicotine products such as Vapour Products (e-cigarettes) have the potential to improve public health by helping people to cut down or quit smoking by choosing less risky alternatives.

We hope that the growing weight of evidence and arguments in support of tobacco harm reduction which are being made by the scientific community, public health campaigners and the tobacco industry will help to guide future decision making.

Our preferred approach

Of course, we do not oppose regulation of Vapour Products (e-cigarettes). In fact, we are actively advocating for regulation.

 We continue to engage with governments and regulators around our preferred regulatory approach:

  • Quality and safety standards – based on robust science, to ensure consumer safety and confidence.
  • Responsible marketing to adults only – controlled marketing and advertising rules aimed at adult consumers only.
  • Freedom to innovate – to give consumers more choice and satisfy their evolving needs and preferences.
  • Freedom to collaborate and communicate – so the public and private sectors can work together and provide meaningful information to consumers.
  • Appropriate taxes and excise – reflecting the relative product risks and not artificially driving up prices, which can discourage take-up by more smokers.

Following the November 2016 Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), we welcome the WHO’s recognition of the potential role of what they refer to as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) in helping to reduce the public health impact of tobacco use, as well as the need for product safety standards.

We hope that our work as part of multi-stakeholder initiatives to develop industry-wide product standards will contribute to this vital area.

Having worked on the development of the first national standards for Vapour Products in the UK and France, we are now participating in working groups of the EU Standards Body (CEN) for Europe-wide standards. We are also providing technical input to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) for developing global specifications.