By Tony Hudson
New regulations being proposed by the EU could result in the ban of electronic cigarettes being sold commercially.
The regulation in question would ban any product containing nicotine concentration exceeding 4mg per ml from being sold unless it was officially authorised as medicinal.
Products like the nicotine patch and other 'quit smoking' products are classed as medicinal, so they will be unaffected by the new regulation, but electronic cigarettes are another matter altogether.
Companies which sell e-cigarettes are deeply upset about the proposed update to the European tobacco products directive, claiming their products are recreational and should continue to be classed as such.
"We are not selling a medicinal product, we don't present e-cigarettes as having health benefits and they are not functionally a medicine. They are designed as an alternative to cigarettes ", said Charles Hamshaw-Thomas, director of legal and corporate affairs at E-Lites.
Forcing companies to either reclassify their products as medicinal or lose the right to sell them commercially would seriously harm their ability to compete across Europe.
"Limitations on the wider availability of e-cigarettes will give cigarette companies an unfair advantage and perversely protect their existing markets," Hamshaw-Thomas said.
The new rule is one of several proposed updates to the European tobacco products directive which, according to the EU, seeks to make smoking in all forms less attractive to young people in order to discourage tobacco initiation and improve public health in member states.