Eu slowly making cigarettes illegal

Cigarettes and smoking are possibly the last form of civil disobedience left, and the European Parliament keeps chipping away at it. Recently they voted to ban flavoured cigarettes, including menthol, from 2022, and to have warnings cover 65% o the pack. In addition, they have banned smaller, 10 cigarette packs.

However, in an unusual bout of common sense, they have decided not to regulate e cigarettes as medicines, throwing the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) plans into disarray. The MHRA wanted e cigarettes to be regulated on the same bases as the various (and broadly ineffective) gums, patches and mouth sprays that purport to help smokers quit. However, the expensive and laborious process of licensing would likely lead to e cigarettes leaving the market.

Why all the fuss about e cigarette regulation? I think the answer is partly because EU busybodies hate anything that’s not regulated. A very believable conspiracy theory puts pharmaceutical lobbying behind the attempts at regulation, since all the nicotine patches and other completely useless products are losing out to e cigarettes. However, for now, e cigarettes are safe.

So what’s the reasoning behind all this nannying? Well, apparently, flavoured cigarettes are more enticing to women and teenagers. The ban on smaller packs is there in hopes that shelling out for a 20 cigarette pack will be a step too far for kids and social smokers. It will also affect people who are trying to cut down. Bigger warnings on the cover are unlikely to be of much use either I think no one buys a packet and thinks «Wow, I didn’t know this is bad for you, I shouldn’t smoke it!»

A black market in cigarettes is also beginning to flourish in the EU, partly because of all the sin taxes, with around 1 in 10 cigarettes smoked coming from across the Eastern border, tax free. Far be it for me to condemn the black market anything people do to deprive the state is a good thing.

In the longterm, cigarettes are probably going out, whether that’s due to better education, increased prices, or simply because of a change in culture, where smoking is no longer a socially acceptable thing to do. But prohibition is not the way to go about it. Now, no one, except for a few crackpots, doubt that smoking is harmful and dangerous. However, a free society means people free to make their own choices, even when those choices are bad ones.

E-cigarettes: all you need to know — telegraph

Kate Moss is a fan, as is Leonardo DiCaprio. With an estimated seven million users in Europe alone, electronic cigarettes are definitely on trend. They are also proving controversial last week, a Mothercare worker was suspended after «vaping» in front of customers. Michelle Capewell, 41, was told to leave the store by her manager after taking a drag of her ecigarette.

That is not the only row the gadgets have sparked. Public health experts are sharply divided about ecigarettes, with some arguing they could substantially cut deaths from tobacco of which there are 100,000 annually in the UK while others warn they will only glamorise smoking, especially among the young.

Euro MPs added to the confusion last week by throwing out a European Commission proposal, supported by the UK s regulatory authority, to treat e cigarettes as medicines.

E cigarettes comprise a battery, atomiser and a cartridge containing nicotine, suspended in a solution of propylene glycol (the stuff from which theatrical smoke is made). When the user inhales, the solution is vaporised (hence «vaping»), delivering a nicotine hit to the lungs without the tar and toxins that would come from conventional cigarettes.

Some e cigarettes have an indicator light at the end which glows when the user inhales, to give an added touch of realism. And, unlike standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gums, patches and sprays, they offer «the cigarette experience», notes Jeremy Mean, from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). «Rituals such as having something to hold are very important in addiction,» he says. «E cigarettes may help some people more than standard NRT.»

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One study of 657 smokers, published in The Lancet last month, found that ecigarettes worked as well as nicotine patches in helping people stop smoking within six months. With an average quitting rate of about 6 per cent, neither method worked brilliantly, but e cigarettes were also better at reducing conventional cigarette use among those who did not give up totally.

«We cannot say they are 100 per cent safe because there isn t enough evidence,» says Amanda Sandford, research manager at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). «But in comparison to tobacco products they are safer by several orders of magnitude.» Unlike with passive smoking from conventional cigarettes, the effect on others from the vapour exhaled is thought to be negligible.

However, there is a problem with quality control which is why the MHRA wants to see e cigarettes regulated as medicine. This should come into effect in 2016, although without a Europe wide initiative the UK may act unilaterally. «Our tests show that different products vary in how much nicotine they deliver» says Jeremy Mean. «So some products may not help people regulate their nicotine cravings.»

There are also fears that ecigarettes could «renormalise» smoking and promote nicotine addiction. «This is precisely why they need regulating as medicines, so that they are not sold to under 18s or targeted at non smokers,» says Mean. He advises that for now, would be quitters should use conventional NRT products patches, gums and sprays rather than ecigarettes.

Amanda Sandford agrees that the potential of ecigarettes to reduce tobacco related damage outweighs the risks, but «they are not a panacea». «Our research shows that two thirds of people who try ecigarettes give them up although we don t know why.»


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