NNA calls for consumer input to MHRA on ecigs:
The UK Department of Health has today released its consultation on the implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The consultation is open to all, so please do respond - the consultation documents can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-regulations-on-the-sale-and-manufacture-of-tobacco-products
Article 20 of the TPD which relates to e-cigarettes has been described by many as a "dogs dinner" and we believe that that is a fair description. It contains numerous arbitrary requirements and restrictions that will do nothing at all for the health or safety of the smoking and vaping public, and will create pointless burdens on the vendors and manufacturers of e-cigarettes to the competitive advantage of the far more dangerous product - tobacco cigarettes.
In addition, the TPD would have been the perfect opportunity to overturn the EU's utterly insane ban on snus, a product which has proven itself over decades of use in Sweden to provide consumers with a far safer method by which to use nicotine than smoking.
The draft Statutory Instrument (see link above) which will be used to transpose the TPD into UK law is pretty much as expected, and it is to the Department of Health's credit that it does not (yet) seek to impose greater restrictions than those required by the EU legislation. The UK has fast become a world leader in accepting the role tobacco harm reduction can play in improving the health of smokers (apart from Wales of course which favours a non evidence based prohibitionist approach) and we would like to see that continue.
Within the text of the consultation documents the MHRA has been named as the competent authority and regulator for e-cigarettes which fall under the TPD. This is of concern because the MHRA's track record in this area has not been good, having twice attempted to pull them into prohibitively expensive and overly burdensome medicines regulation. However, it is hoped that the MHRA will follow the new direction which the Department of Health appear to be taking, and instigate a regulatory regime which is broadly permissive, does not stifle innovation, maximises the benefits which this vibrant market and the products within it have to offer and ensures that products are of appropriate standard in terms of quality and safety.
We believe that the MHRA could become the most progressive regulatory body in the world in the field of e-cigarettes provided it betters its knowledge of both the products and the people who use them. The first hand knowledge which vapers possess would be of huge benefit to the MHRA in achieving that and to that end we call on the MHRA to convene a consumer panel to provide it with advice and guidance on the regulation of these products.
See also a statement from EFVI-UK: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YyIpE2A6lWLK9ty7NAgZTpo7y3QEzVRvy0Q6YDi8J1g/mobilebasic
and one from Vapers in Power: http://vapersinpower.co.uk/tpdnews
Statement from AAEC, a UK based independant vape forum with over 8,000 members: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ovI29arcL1CdFPWk4oPee9ajNN3fd29Uh8WlC3-Q2gU/edit
Clive Bates - The letter England's Minister for Public Health should now write: http://www.clivebates.com/?p=3180
Briefing on e-cigarettes, vaping and public health by Clive Bates: http://www.clivebates.com/?page_id=2853