- 10 updates
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:
Jeremy Mean, the MHRA’s manager of vigilance and risk management of medicines, said:
The Chief Medical Officer said it was "only right" that electronic cigarettes would be regulated as medicines in the future and that they were a "safer" source of nicotine than normal cigarettes.
Professor Dame Sally Davies said:
Electronic cigarettes are to be classed as "medicines" under new proposals to tighten up the regulation of nicotine-containing products.
Manufacturers are to face tough new tests before they can sell their e-cigarettes as "licensed products", the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.
The move will also mean that licensed e-cigarettes can be prescribed by medics to help smokers cut down or quit.
The MHRA will regulate the products so that there is a consistent standard across all licensed products sold over the counter.
Electronic cigarettes are generally considered a safer alternative to normal cigarettes because they do not contain tobacco.
The devices dispense nicotine, which is highly addictive but not as dangerous as tobacco.
- User sucks on mouthpiece
- Sensor detects airflow and heats liquid inside replaceable cartridge
- User inhales vapour and nicotine is delivered to lungs
Electronic cigarettes could be taken off British shelves depending on a government decision on the future regulation of the product.
There is currently no age limit on the devices or limits on their advertising or availability.
If the government decides that e-cigarettes need more medical assessments, they could be banned altogether while the health implications are investigated.
A decision is due this morning on whether the UK will regulate electronic cigarettes.
As it stands the devices are only covered by general product safety regulation but the government will announce today whether they will fall under the remit of the MHRA medical regulator.
Latest ITV News reports
E-cigarettes are set to be classified as "medicines" in a bid to tighten up regulation. But what are e-cigarettes and are they safe to use?
The MHRA says e-cigarette nicotine levels can vary from from batch to batch, casting doubt on how useful they are to those aiming to quit.