Britain unveils ban on e-cigarettes for under-18s

LONDON Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:01pm EST

E-cigarettes are displayed at 'smoke-not-smoke' at Camden in London June 9, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

E-cigarettes are displayed at 'smoke-not-smoke' at Camden in London June 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Sunday it would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to children aged under 18, citing possible adverse health effects and outlining a need for further medical research.

E-cigarettes, which are puffed like a regular cigarette but deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquid rather than burning tobacco, have grown in popularity and some analysts predict the market could outpace conventional cigarettes within a decade.

"We do not yet know the harm that e-cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk- free," England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said in a statement.

She added that e-cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and that variations in the strength of the nicotine solutions between different products meant they could end up being "extremely damaging" to young people's health.

The global market for e-cigarettes was estimated at more than $2 billion last year by market consultant Euromonitor.

Under-18s are already banned from buying conventional cigarettes in Britain. Sunday's announcement included plans to make it illegal for adults to buy regular cigarettes for consumption by under 18s.

The changes will be written into a bill already on its way through parliament and are expected to have cross-party support, although the opposition Labour party criticized the government for not acting more quickly.

The battery-powered metal tubes of e-cigarettes are seen as less harmful than regular cigarettes and a useful way to wean smokers off their habits. Critics, however say they can act as a gateway to nicotine addiction and that more research is needed on the health implications.

Regulators in Europe and the United States have been debating policy towards the industry. The European Union reached an agreement in December to allow e-cigarettes to be sold as consumer products rather than more tightly regulated medical devices.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (2)
crunchy wrote:
The problem medical officer Susan Davies, the head of the American Lung Assoc. and other alarmists are having is due to the lack of negative effects from E-cigs. Quite the contrary, studies sitting on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website show there is no second hand smoke effects and the base chemicals are safe as used by the public. Nicotine the bad boy of cigarettes hasn’t caused one case of cancer. And a re-evaluation of its LD50(Lethal Dose limit) limit is pointing to it being safer than Tylenol and Aspirin. Especially, since the amount of nicotine used is 100 times less than the LD50 limit, unlike Tylenol and Aspirin.

I started vaping two weeks ago and haven’t wanted to take a puff off a pack of cigs I thought I would need as backup. I’m going to throw them away.

Jan 27, 2014 2:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
debbieg wrote:
While I agree these products shouldn’t be sold to minors the claim that they “may” pose health hazards has not been proven. Toxins? Here’s a comparison for you
Ingredients in Nicorette QuickMist (sold in the UK as an approved NRT)
Propylene glycol
Anhydrous ethanol
Poloxamer 407
Sodium hydrogen carbonate
Mint flavour
Cooling flavour
Acesulfame potassium
Hydrochloric acid
Purified water

Ingrediants in refill liquids for ecigs
Propylene glycol
Vegetable glycerin

Jan 27, 2014 4:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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