UK, U.S. move in opposite directions on e-cigarettes

Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon documents the United Kingdom’s response to recent research involving e-cigarettes.

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.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...