According to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the United Kingdom will start regulating electronic cigarettes as a medication after the new European tobacco laws come into effect.
The safety of e-cigarettes, which are electronic cigarettes that contain artificial nicotine solution, has been subjected to heated debate in the recent years. According to statistics reports, nearly 1.3 million tobacco smokers and ex-smokers are using e-cigarettes.
"We can't recommend these products because their safety and quality is not assured, and so we will recommend that people don't use them," Jeremy Mean from the MHRA said at a news conference according to BBC news.
Although, e-cigarettes are not widely viewed by health professionals as a reliable way to quit smoking tobacco since there is not much evidence, electronic cigarettes still will be rescheduled in Great Britain as medicines and will follow the new regulation guidelines starting 2016.
The UK already has the regulations on e-cigarettes, which are quite mild compared to other countries, as Brazil, Norway and Singapore which either have banned them completely or equated with tobacco products.
E-cigarettes, the electronic devices that suffuse an aerosol mist with nicotine and other chemicals for smoker to inhale, became very popular alternative after public spots decided to ban smoking indoors.
The distinctive smell of smoke does not come out of this product. On top of the fact that there is little evidence regarding the safety of the product, some experts and agencies have stressed that these products tend to be poorly manufactured and could have levels of contamination.
Furthermore, since there are not that many regulations on how these products are made, there could be even more underlying risks.
"MHRA regulation can ensure that adult smokers can continue to be able to buy e-cigarettes as easily as tobacco, but promotion to children or non-smokers will be prohibited," Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of the health campaign body, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said with more people using e-cigarettes it was only right that the products were properly regulated to be safe and work effectively. "Smokers are harmed by the deadly tar and toxins in tobacco smoke, not the nicotine," she said.
"While it's best to quit completely, I realise that not every smoker can and it is much better to get nicotine from safer sources such as nicotine replacement therapy."
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