Bbc news — users warn eu e-cigarette controls could cost lives

The European Parliament hasn’t banned their use. But it is going to impose restrictions on the kind of e cigarette that can be sold.

In particular, users or vapers as they call themselves will no longer be able to get some of the reusable and refillable devices that deliver the biggest nicotine hit.

The growing community of vapers believe it’s an assault on a product that is saving their lives by removing the temptation of tobacco.

Improving health

Christena Heseltine from North Shields in Tyneside has been using e cigarettes for five years.

She credits them with improving her health, but she also enjoys them. Her daughter Kirsteen is another user, and husband Ron, who has terminal oesophageal cancer, has recently joined them.

It’s unclear whether smoking caused his cancer but vaping has allowed him to continue to enjoy nicotine without smoking.

Christena is outraged at the European Parliament’s decision. She thinks it’ll ramp up costs for vapers but also make it impossible to obtain the high nicotine devices she often uses.

She says many frustrated users will go back to smoking, while others her included may look to the black market.

Kirsteen, Ron and Christena Heseltine all swapped tobacco for e cigarettes

She said «I’ll be forced to break the law, become a criminal, and that is scary.

«The vaping community has worked hard to make sure it’s as safe as possible. We have worked with trading standards to ensure the nicotine juices are safe and properly labelled.

«But now if I go to the black market, I won’t know whether the nicotine I’m getting is safe, so the work we have done will have been for nothing.»

Wrong direction

Vapers did have some allies in the European Parliament. North East Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, fought against the EU proposals, and is disappointed most of his colleagues backed them.

He said «This is going in completely the wrong direction. E cigarettes have the ability to convert thousands of smokers to vaping as they call it. That is a thousand times safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Cigarettes and smoking tobacco products

Menthol is a substance naturally found in mint plants such as peppermint and spearmint that gives a cooling sensation. It is an additive in cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco products, and tobacco rolling paper. Brands marketed as menthol cigarettes have enough menthol added to describe them as having a menthol flavor. However, brands not labeled as menthol may contain low levels of it as well.

The tobacco industry has marketed menthol cigarettes as being a «healthier» and «safer» cigarette, emphasizing its cool and refreshing taste. In reality, menthol reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke, which makes it easier to smoke especially for children and teens.

Many people choose menthol cigarettes because they believe menthol cigarettes are safer than non menthol cigarettes. However, no evidence exists indicating that menthol cigarettes are safer. All cigarette smoking is linked to many cancers and other diseases. No tobacco product is safe. Learn more about the health effects of menthol cigarettes.

Read the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration is seeking public input on menthol in cigarettes.

Read a Q&A about menthol.