The European Union versus the e-cig
By Alberto Mingardi
In December last year we discussed the new European directive on tobacco products. It has been approved, and includes, as Andy Coghlan reports on the New Scientist, “strict conditions on how e-cigarettes can be formulated, advertised and sold”.
Now, if you read the European Commission’s press release, everything has been taken care of, for the better: consumers will be better protected, and every possible step to benefit them has been taken. Seriously, the press release is well worth reading: such a self-complimentary document, if published under the trademark of a business, would be deemed as propaganda by consumer advocates, lobbyists, et cetera.
There is, however, some matters of contention, mostly related (besides the application TO e-cigs OF the same rules on advertising that apply to other tobacco production) to the concentration of nicotine (which will be limited to 20 milligrams per millilitre of propylene glyco). In another article, Mr Coghlan reported of a letter from fifteen scientists that warned against “excessive regulation” of e-cigarettes that may indirectly perpetuate “the existing levels of smoking related disease, death and health care costs”.
I find this issue most fascinating. Governments, as we know, oppose smoking vehemently. An alternative to smoking, which may appeal to a number of smokers, suddenly emerged. What does government do? It opposes it, too.
Jacob Sullum on Reason has an excellent summary of the anti-vaping arguments that are emerging within the anti-smoking movement. One is that e-cigs will lure teenagers into smoking. The other is that vaping “will discourage smokers from quitting by giving them a way to get their nicotine fix when they can’t light up”.
I wonder if somebody is able to provide any kind of evidence, for these I’d say rather counterintuitive claims.