Lifestyle Economics

IEA criticises MHRA decision to regulate e-cigarettes as medical products


Lifestyle Economics

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Press Release

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E-cigarettes should be allowed to flourish in a free market

Commenting on the announcement of new regulations for e-cigarettes, Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“There is no more reason to treat e-cigarettes as medical products than there is to treat alcohol-free beer or chewing gum as pharmaceuticals. They are emphatically not medicines and they make no claim to treat any disease. They are alternatives to smoking which many smokers have found to be effective substitutes for cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes have the potential to make conventional cigarettes obsolete, but only if they are allowed to flourish in a free market. The medical establishment has played no part in the rise of this remarkable product and, shamefully, many anti-smoking campaigners want them banned.

“The MHRA’s decision will stifle innovation, raise prices and lead to a black market in potentially lethal nicotine fluids amongst existing e-cigarette users. In the short term, e-cigarettes will have to be taken off the market, potentially for years and possibly forever. In the meantime, most of the UK’s one million e-cigarette users will return to smoking cigarettes. The only winners will be the tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson, please contact Stephanie Lis, Communications Officer on 020 7799 8909 or 07766 221 268.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.