We, Spinfuel eMagazine, continue to seek out opinions of those individuals who possess comprehensive knowledge of the electronic cigarette industry and who can communicate that knowledge to our readers. In so doing, we will occasionally open our pages to accommodate their words. Last week Chris Balme graced our pages with his thoughtful and well-written piece on how e-cigarettes have proven their worth without regulation. Today, Mark Benson, Social Media Director or the UK e-cigarette brand, OKCigs, reflects on the recent EP ruling, and how it may influence the FDA’s upcoming regulations. Please Welcome Mark Benson to the pages of Spinfuel eMagazine. – Tom McBride – Managing Editor
News that the European Parliament has rejected an EU committee recommendation to ban electronic cigarettes and class them as medical devices has caught the eye of many electric cigarette enthusiasts. As we wait for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US to announce its own position on electronic cigarettes, there is a suggestion that today’s European Parliament ruling could in some way influence the FDA.
There has been a monumental debate regarding electronic cigarettes since the EU committee recommendation in July 2013 and all parties have been very vocal with regards to their opinions. However, will this have any influence on the FDA’s forthcoming review?
US electronic cigarette market
When you bear in mind that the US electronic cigarette market is forecast to be worth around $1 billion in 2013 this is an enormous market. The fact that it is minuscule compared to the worldwide tobacco market is a fact which many people seem to overlook although the FDA has certainly been under pressure for some time to make a ruling.
While electronic cigarettes are seen by many as a way in which to cut down on the number of tobacco cigarettes they smoke, they have not been marketed in this manner due to regulatory and legal issues. However, the fact that many electronic cigarette enthusiasts have been waxing lyrical about the way in which electronic cigarettes have helped wean them off tobacco cigarettes has certainly not gone unnoticed. Many electronic cigarette users have reported improvements in their health since switching from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes although some of the individual claims have been questioned by experts.
If we take a step back and look at the broader picture, we have recently seen a number of multi-million pound takeover deals in the electronic cigarette industry with more expected. So far the major tobacco cigarette companies have remained tight-lipped on the electronic cigarette industry although there are rumours that they have this new industry in their sights. Could we see the introduction of an array of branded electronic cigarettes by the major tobacco cigarette companies or perhaps they will look to take over their electronic cigarette counterparts?
The FDA has indicated that a ruling on electronic cigarettes will be made by the end of 2013. There is pressure from some parties to have them classed as “medical devices” while others see them as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. There have been rumours and counter rumours with regards to the potential direction of the FDA’s ruling but so far the administration has been keeping its cards very close to its chest.
If, as the European Parliament recently decided, the FDA rules against the medical devices proposal and in favour of tighter regulations, this is something which would be welcomed by all parties. Despite some suggestions in the mass media, electronic cigarette companies have no issue with future regulation to ensure their products do not fall into the wrong hands and are manufactured to the highest standards. In the eyes of many people it is the issue of cheap, low quality electronic cigarettes which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The future of electronic cigarettes
As more and more countries look to ban the smoking of tobacco cigarettes in public, and on certain licensed premises, the popularity of electronic cigarettes has continued to grow. The US market alone is expected to be worth $1 billion in 2013 with some experts forecasting an increase to $2 billion per annum in the short term. It would be foolhardy of the FDA to ignore this growing market although there is growing confidence that the administration will implement a balanced approach, such as that taken by the European Parliament.
One issue which has come to light because of this ongoing regulatory debate is the positive influence that electronic cigarettes have had on the lives and the health of those who have previously smoked tobacco cigarettes for many years. It is perhaps the feedback from this particular group of society which has influenced the European Parliament’s recent decision and could yet have an impact upon the forthcoming FDA ruling.
The bottom line is that no responsible electronic cigarette company is against formal regulation to protect their customers, quality control and even clinical trials to clarify long-term health implications.
For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.