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Brussels Makers and users of electronic cigarettes on Tuesday went to war against EU plans to class the devices as medicinal products, saying any such move would end up harming public health.

Days before members of the European Parliament vote on a raft of new anti smoking measures, organisers of the Save E cigs Campaign said medical regulation of the product would condemn “Europe’s seven million e cigarette users to a premature death”.

“Medicinal regulation will impose limitations on e cigarettes … and will limit their availability, raise costs and reduce innovation,” a statement said.

“If MEPs vote for medicinal regulation more people will smoke (tobacco) and we will all be forced back to a nightmare we thought we had left behind.”

Parliament next week examines new legislation to be introduced across the European Union to replace rules dating back to 2001, in hopes of reducing the 700 000 deaths attributed to tobacco across the bloc each year.

The UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the safety of e cigarettes “has not been scientifically demonstrated… (and) the potential risks they pose for the health of users remains undetermined”.

But e cig users and makers, who say turnover has doubled since 2010, claim the electronic product represent a “public health revolution that has the potential to save millions of lives”.

Citing academic studies, they say e cigarettes are safer than conventional ones and are rapidly building market share.

Electronic cigarettes look like their traditional counterparts but are powered by a battery, They vaporise a solution containing nicotine or flavours which the user then inhales.

The new EU rules also include a ban on menthol and other flavoured cigarettes as part of a crackdown on youth smoking while ordering mandatory health warnings on packaging.

If approved, the new law could be in force across the 28 nation bloc within three years. Sapa AFP

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Increasing support for electronic cigarettes in eu

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Based on the majority of news articles that we can read on the internet, it is safe to say that electronic cigarettes are heavily attacked by their detractors. These detractors endlessly argue that ecigs are not safe, are not studied, and are not regulated. Thus, it is quite refreshing to read and hear about instances when these products are advocated, supported and promoted not only by ordinary users, but by experts and professionals.

Support For Electronic Cigarettes In Italy

Surprising, though, as it may seem to his colleagues who think that the products deserve not to be highly esteemed Italy’s past health minister, Umberto Veronesi, has actually disapproved of the approach of his government in treating ecigarettes.

According to him, these are tobacco free options that have the potential in saving about 30,000 lives per year. If all smokers of traditional cigarettes would decide to use electronic cigarettes, about 30,000 Italian lives could be saved each year and additional 500 million lives throughout the world.

Veronesi is now the scientific director in the IEO or European Institute of Oncology. This tumor specialist called upon the government to deal with serious smoking health implications. He argued that for quite a long time, the government has focused only on the economic side of cigarette trading.

He said that the debates on tobacco free cigarettes have all been focused on the market mainly on who are selling them and other obscured interests on the economic side of the products. Only few have actually expressed concerns over what is more important, which is the health of the public.

It is to be recalled that earlier in the year, there was a proposal in the legislative body to tax electronic cigarettes with 58.5% levy. He said that this proposal has, in fact, forced many producers to already abandon their ventures. Fortunately, the government scrapped this proposal.

Apart from ecig health benefits, the industry of electronic cigarettes has already provided about 5,000 jobs in the country. Many small scale entrepreneurs have also attained success from their opened shops, which by now are around 2,000 in number. If the industry was taxed, the government could have earned 35 million, but many might have lost their jobs.

Ecigs Can Improve Public Health

If the government was not too eager on the possible economic issues, it probably would not fail on seeing the products as a chance to improve the health of the public. He said that through monopoly on the cigarette packets, the state is actually earning money from the tragedy being brought upon by cigarette smoking.

The government prefers this instead of fighting for what are better options since scientific research is readily at the disposal of those in position. It is the moral duty of the government to research on these electronic cigarettes and Veronesi stated that he intends to discuss it with Beatrice Lorenzin, the Health Minister.

Support From French Doctors

During the early part of October, the European Parliament has decided to reject the proposal to treat electronic cigarettes as drugs. If this was approved, the products would have been very limited and restricted that users could have been forced to simply smoke cigarettes again.

This decision was described as wise by the French doctor who led a group of other doctors in supporting the ecigs.

The EU Parliament decided that the products will not be sold to minors and ecig advertising would also not be allowed.

The group of 10 French doctors was led by Dr. Philippe Presles and said that this is a good decision. Presles is a tobacco specialist from the Insitiut Moncey.

He said that this decision made it possible for research and studies to be continuously performed to make ecigarettes and e liquids better products. He and his colleagues believe that ecigs have demonstrated great potentials in helping people to quit smoking.

He said that if debates and doubts on whether ecig ingredients are safe or not persist, these allegations must be opposed by the presentation of definitely and confirmed risks from using tobacco cigarettes.