Smokers in the UK who cannot quit immediately will soon be advised to use e-cigarettes as nicotine alternatives and even as medicine.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency released a statement June 12 declaring electronic cigarettes will be treated as medicine and nicotine replacement. This directive aims to give people the assurance that the product is safe, and to provide them with the confidence to use the product.
The regulation is slated for implementation in 2016 to license e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement products. While the regulation is still 3 years away, electronic cigarette manufacturers will have more than enough time to adjust their products and ensure safety and compliance to existing medicine standards.
Although the electronic sticks will still be available prior to regulations coming into effect, the government is not recommending them as a nicotine alternative yet. Sally Davies, chief medical officer of Britain, said that e-cigarettes must first be regulated before the government can recommend their use. “It is much better to get nicotine from safer sources such as nicotine replacement therapy,” Davies said.
Manufacturers like SKYCIG UK are concerned about the plan for regulation. SKYCIG commercial manager Damien Scott ensures the public that their company is already doing self-regulation on their products. He considers e-cigarettes as “lifestyle products”, and putting a medical regulation on them might make consumers think twice about purchasing.
Smoking is still considered as one of the leading causes of death in England. The regulatory agency sees the planned directive as a means to sell e-cigarettes over the counter, just like medicines.