UK government finally closes electronic cigarette sales loophole
The UK government has finally decided to act on the electronic cigarette sales loophole which effectively allowed unscrupulous retailers to sell their products to customers under the age of 18. Even though it is something of an unwritten rule within the industry, not to sell to those under 18, regulators around the world have been using instances of sales to customers under 18 years of age as a means of demonising the sector. This move, which was announced over the weekend, has been well received by responsible electronic cigarette retailers and indeed will clear the air on a subject which was shrouded in mystery and uncertainty.
This is perhaps the first time that the UK government has acted in a favourable manner towards the electronic cigarette industry despite the fact that there are 1.3 million electronic cigarette users in the UK. This equates to around 10% of the number of tobacco cigarette smokers although the number of electronic cigarettes sold in the UK is set to grow significantly.
A structured regulatory environment
In many ways it is the unscrupulous electronic cigarette retailers who have impacted the image of the industry as a whole and therefore left the sector open to criticism. By closing the door governments have effectively presented the upper-hand to responsible electronic cigarette retailers and given them the chance to put the industry on a better footing. This will not only clarify a number of grey issues surrounding the sector but will also allow this particular subject matter to be put to bed and the wider, long-term future of the industry, to be discussed in greater detail.
At this moment in time nobody quite knows how the regulatory situation will pan out with a number of different strategies discussed by European and US regulators. Governments, health authorities and regulators around the world are singing from different hymn sheets at this moment in time although in due course we will likely see a more focused approach.
More focus upon electronic cigarettes
The last few weeks have seen some significant media coverage of the electronic cigarette industry with a wide array of subjects discussed in great detail. This not only allows individuals to understand the industry to a greater extent but also publicises the sector and the various comparisons between tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. Up until a very short time ago it was the massive marketing and advertising power of the tobacco cigarette companies which effectively drowned out their electronic cigarette counterparts. However, electronic cigarette supporters have recently become more vocal and finally their voices are being heard for the first time.
There are many rumours and myths surrounding the electronic cigarette industry because while regulators like to suggest that no medical trials have been carried out, this is not the case. Nobody disputes that there need to be more long-term medical trials but the medical data to date certainly shows that electronic cigarettes are at worst “less harmful” than their tobacco cigarette counterparts. Indeed, even the most ardent critics of electronic cigarettes have to admit that the 4000+ toxins present in a standard tobacco cigarette – which are not present in an electronic cigarette – pose the biggest threat to the health of the user.
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a level headed approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.