In France, electronic cigarettes are going to be banned, and in the UK they are going to be declared a drug. The latest initiative belongs to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
They are worried that nicotine-containing products in the UK do not always meet the quality standards, and therefore suggest toughening the rules for their certification and sales. If this happens, electronic cigarettes will be sold on prescription only.
This means that manufacturers will have to issue a medical license, but doctors can prescribe electronic cigarettes to patients as a way to quit smoking. However, the representatives of the MHRA stressed that different batches of electronic cigarette cartridges have different amount of nicotine, and their use does not guarantee getting rid of nicotine addiction.
Scientists believe that electronic cigarettes are often no less dangerous to smokers than regular cigarettes, due to the content of carcinogens, but they eliminate the harm of secondhand smoke to others. MHRA emphasized that the point is not to ban the products, which many find helpful, but to give smokers an alternative.
When smoking an electronic cigarette, the smoker inhales not nicotine smoke but steam – this way it differs from conventional cigarettes. The liquid, which usually contains nicotine, turns into steam under the influence of the heating element – hot nichrome coil – inside an electronic cigarette. The steam gets inside the smoker’s respiratory system and causes a sensation comparable to conventional cigarette smoking.