The Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes
Since they were first invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003, the question of if and how to regulate electronic cigarettes has occupied manufacturers and government agencies alike.
The issue has become even more pressing in recent months as the popularity of electronic cigarettes has exploded, with more and more people around the world opting for this healthier and more convenient way to get the nicotine they crave.
So what sort of regulations could we see brought in around the world in the next few years, and how will it affect you and your favourite vaporiser?
Why are electronic cigarettes so popular?
One of the main reasons that smokers around the world are turning to e-cigs is that they have been shown to be healthier than normal cigarettes. Though they still contain nicotine, it gives users the chance to get the hit that they crave, without the harmful chemicals that are found in traditional cigarettes.
As well as helping people to stop smoking traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes are also perfect for using indoors, something that is in increasing demand as more and more countries introduce smoking bans.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigs don’t produce vapours that are harmful to others, helping to prevent diseases caused by secondary smoke and making indoor environments more comfortable for smokers and non-smokers alike.
Electronic cigarettes and vaporisers also come in a range of great tasting flavours, making the experience of using an e-cig even more enjoyable for the consumer.
What is the current regulation?
The regulation of electronic cigarettes changes from country to country with some imposing outright bans and others allowing the products to be sold with relatively few limitations.
Though initially most countries allowed the sale of electronic cigarettes, some required more research to be carried out on the product in order to assess their safety and their impact on new and existing smokers.
The most comprehensive study done on the subject showed that e-cigs were considerably healthier than normal cigarettes, containing fewer chemicals and impurities than their traditional counterparts.
Regulators have also been debating how to address the issue of minors using e-cigs and whether or not they count as a tobacco product when it comes to importation and regulation.
There has also been a debate about the role of e-cigs in smoking cessation with some countries requiring that e-cigs are not listed or sold as cessation aids, but rather as alternatives to traditional cigarettes.
Though research in this area is still inconclusive, many smokers have found e-cigs a big help when it comes to cutting down on the amount they are smoking and removing the other harmful chemicals found in normal cigarettes from their systems.
What regulation could be brought it?
With electronic cigarettes becoming more and more popular, the question of how and when to regulate them is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.
Again, the regulations being considered vary by country and by region, but in general they include prohibiting the sale of e-cigs to minors, prohibiting the distribution of free samples of vaporisers, a requirement that e-cigs carry a warning (mostly relating the addictiveness of nicotine) and that electronic cigarette manufacturers would be required to disclose the ingredients in their products.
Other regulations currently on the table also include prohibiting the use of e-cigs in public spaces and a ban on selling vaporisers in vending machines unless they are placed in locations that do not admit young people.
How will it affect the electronic cigarette industry?
As the electronic cigarette industry is still developing, it’s able to adjust, accommodate and incorporate a lot of changing recommendations and regulations as and when they occur.
In general regulation could be good news for the industry, standardising practices and reassuring customers the vaporisers they love to use are carefully controlled and tested.
This could potentially lead to more growth and development in the industry, something that can only be good for the vaping community. Regulating the e-cigs themselves could also benefit consumers, ensuring that the products that they buy are always of the highest quality.
Though the coming regulations could restrict the use of e-cigs in some countries as well as in some indoor or work environments, e-cigs will remain a more flexible, cleaner and healthier way to enjoy nicotine.
What’s more likely is that, as e-cigs become more popular and more common, regulators will learn to understand the product and its users, allowing manufacturers and law makers to work together to find a solution that suits everyone.
So if you’re a dedicated user of vaporisers, don’t fear. As electronic cigarettes are one of the best life saving alternatives to normal cigarettes, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be banned altogether, giving smokers around the world the chance to turn their backs on traditional chemical packed cigarettes and use the healthier, less intrusive e-cigs instead.