Electronic cigarettes have been proven to be a healthier alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. They have helped millions of people (myself included) to quit smoking cancer-causing cigarettes. So why does the UK insist on banning them?
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) want to enforce regulations which they believe would ban every current electronic cigarette device in the UK today, ignoring a EU vote NOT to ban e-cigarettes last week.
A Telegraph article may shed some light into the matter. Here’s what Jeremy Mean from the MHRA said:
… unlike standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gums, patches and sprays, they offer “the cigarette experience” … Rituals such as having something to hold are very important in addiction … E-cigarettes may help some people more than standard NRT.
But that sounds positive.
Let’s look at what Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK, who also want to ban e-cigarettes, say:
We cannot say they are 100 per cent safe because there isn’t enough evidence… But in comparison to tobacco products they are safer by several orders of magnitude.
Orders of magnitude generally means hundreds or thousands of times safer. That sounds good, especially when combined with ASH’s belief that e-cigarettes don’t harm non-vapers.
Amanda Sandford agrees that the potential of e‑cigarettes to reduce tobacco-related damage outweighs the risks, but “they are not a panacea”. “Our research shows that two thirds of people who try e‑cigarettes give them up – although we don’t know why.”
Give up what? Smoking, or nicotine altogether after switching? Still sounds pretty good compared to the 5% success rate smokers have when trying to quit smoking.