Research suggests about 1.3m smokers and ex smokers in the UK use the products, which are designed to replicate smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco.

E cigarettes turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapour that is inhaled.

Mr Maxwell said an answer to a Westminster parliamentary question revealed that there were currently no age restrictions affecting the sale of e cigarettes.

“There is a real and worrying grey area when it comes to e cigarettes that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“It cannot be right that these nicotine containing products can be legally marketed and sold to children.

“There is a worrying loophole here that needs to be tightened up as a matter of urgency. I will be seeking a meeting with the Scottish government minister for public health to see if anything can be done in Scotland to close this loophole in the sale of these products, but clearly there is also need for action at Westminster.”

Electronic cigarettes will be licensed as a medicine in the UK from 2016 under new regulations to be introduced by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency, the body which regulates medicines in the UK.

Concerns have been raised over the lack of regulation of e cigarettes

The UK currently has few restrictions on the use of e cigarettes, despite moves in some countries to ban them.

Mr Maxwell added “Scotland currently does not have the power to restrict the advertising of these products, something that is vital if this issue is to be tackled properly.

“All our experience with tobacco products shows that advertising plays a huge role in how products like this are perceived. We cannot have a situation where we return to the bad old days where nicotine products were glamorised in advertising.

“There needs to be firmer rules on what exactly is permitted, so that we do not find ourselves in a position where products that encourage nicotine addiction are ever seen as healthy or beneficial.”

A spokesman for the Scottish government said “We will continue to consider what further advice and guidance may be required on electronic cigarettes for the benefit of public health in Scotland and the minister for public health, Michael Matheson, would be happy to meet Mr Maxwell to discuss this matter.”

New york city adds e-cigarettes to public smoking ban

Cigarette card – wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New York’s city council has decided that vaping around others is as unacceptable as smoking, The Wall Street Journal reports. In a 43 8 vote, the council passed a bill expanding the city’s public smoking ban to e cigarettes, meaning that they won’t be allowed in public places like bars, subways, or parks. The council has been debating the measure since late November, with e cigarette opponents saying they just wanted to close a loophole in New York’s stringent anti smoking laws. They say allowing e cigarettes but not their traditional counterparts causes confusion, and that children aren’t able to tell the difference, leading them to see smoking as socially acceptable. And this isn’t the only smoking crackdown of the winter last month, New York became the first major city to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

While e cigarettes, which rely on flavored nicotine juice rather than tobacco and flame, were only introduced to the US a few years ago, sales have grown quickly, becoming a $1.7 billion market though that’s still dwarfed by the $90 billion market in cigarettes. Supporters say that they provide a safer alternative to cigarettes, and that the vapor they produce isn’t comparable to secondhand smoke making a ban unfair and potentially counterproductive. “If you make it just as inconvenient to use an electronic cigarette as a tobacco cigarette, people are just going to keep smoking their Marlboros,” said NJoy e cigarette company head Craig Weiss when the bill was introduced.

However, there’s no definitive answer on precisely how safe e cigarettes are and how they should be regulated. A 2009 FDA study tested several varieties of cartridge and found carcinogenic substances in most of them, banning them for “therapeutic” purposes like quitting smoking but leaving non therapeutic sales open. This year, it took another look at the issue and is currently working on proposed rules to bring e cigs under its regulatory umbrella the EU, meanwhile, rejected a proposal to regulate them as medicines in October. In addition to any federal rules, two other major cities Los Angeles and Chicago are considering public bans on e cigarettes.

  • Image Credit Lindsay Fox
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