The popular electronic cigarette has sparked quite a large split of opinion as to whether or not they are safe, good or bad for one’s health, better for people than a normal cigarette and asks the question ‘are they good for the environment?’ But why are there so many different opinions and is it a government concern or simply an individual concern?
With the sales of electronic cigarettes climbing and the industry currently being worth£340 million. In the UK alone, there are an estimated 1.3 million e- cigarette users. So what’s the take on booming industry from the government?
Within this article, we outline the different takes and ideas on E-Cigs from different governments around the world:
Austria, New Zealand and the UK
Some governments are regulating electronic cigarettes under the umbrella term of a ‘medical device’. This has come as a slight surprise considering that there have been very few recognised clinical trials that have tried and tested the effects of electronic cigarettes on the human body. This regulation has however, helped to prevent the selling and purchase of e-cigarettes to underage people. It has also led to an increase in quality of the device and has promoted more research into the effects of e-cigarettes thus either finding out any bad health effects that they have or it may boost their recognition of being harmless in the public eye.
A big issue and fear of government intervention is the problem of competition, innovation and consumer choice. Also, those large tobacco companies who pay millions/billions in taxes for the government every year are at risk of losing their sales which makes government intervention a strategy, laid out by the big corporate tobacco companies.
Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Ireland
These countries are the few which allow the sales of electronic cigarettes with absolutely zilch restrictions. These governments are allowing the e-cigarette market to regulate itself. This is evident in a lot of shops which clearly state that the devices are for over 18s only and emphasising the amount of nicotine in the devices and the harmful effects of nicotine.
The current tax produced from the sales of e-cigarettes in some cases can be seen to make the unhealthy side effects irrelevant due to the money generated. However, another reason for the self regulating decision on e-cigarettes could also be that through solid evidence, E-Cigarettes have been seen to help people get off normal, much unhealthier, tobacco cigarettes. This weaning off tobacco process will create a healthier nation (and therefore, a more productive one) .
Another possible reason for the neglect of government regulation could be due to the fact that e-cigarettes are still a relatively new product which was only introduced in 2002 which means that some governments are still catching up with the continuously growing and changing e-cigarette industry .
Brazil, Australia and Singapore
These countries will absolutely not change their minds on their pre-existing anti-smoking laws and policies. Australia wholly views nicotine in any form as a poison, Brazil believes that there is little evidence to show that e-cigarettes are safe (they need to do more research) and the Singapore government just generally don’t like anything that even resembles a cigarette.
A strong argument against such policies is that it stops consumers having the freedom to choose what they want as well as suffocating the free market.
The industry as it currently stands is still quite a confusing one with people unsure of how to get hold of e-cigarettes, what the best ones for individuals are and what the choices are. We would recommend taking a look at Grey Haze who are one of leaders in the e-cigarettes industry in the UK who sell a huge variety of kits, accessories and e-liquids.