by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
While the federal government considers increased regulation for electronic cigarettes, the United Kingdom is moving in the opposite direction, calling for a change in national policy that sees e-cigarettes as an important tool for smoking cessation.
A report released by the Science and Technology Committee in Parliament last month found e-cigarettes “substantially less harmful” than conventional cigarettes. The report recommends relaxing regulation so that approval of e-cigarettes can be “streamlined” and asks policymakers to reconsider allowing their use in public places.
The report also found no evidence that vaping is a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking for teens.
“Smoking remains a national health crisis and the Government should be considering innovative ways of reducing the smoking rate,” said Norman Lamb, the chair of the Science and Technology Committee. “E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so.”
Lamb, a member of the Liberal Democrat party, said the National Health Service should use e-cigarettes for health promotion rather than demonize them.