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Will the UK authorities follow the FDA?
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Mark Benson Offline
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Will the UK authorities follow the FDA?
Last week's news that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is to take total control of the US electronic cigarette market was pretty much as expected. While some of the short-term regulations were a little lighter than many critics had hoped there is no doubt that the FDA has laid some very firm foundations for the future. There is growing concern that in the medium to longer term the administration could introduce punitive fees which would be very difficult for smaller operations to cover.

Now that the near three-year review of the US electronic cigarette market has been released, will the UK authorities follow suit or will the European electronic cigarette market be treated differently?

European regulations

In many ways the European Parliament had already laid the foundations for a very controversial and a very tough fight in the future. While some of the short-term regulations will allow the electronic cigarette market to grow there is concern about the small print which could effectively see regulations and rule changes pushed through by member states without going back to the European Parliament.

The European vaping community has already gathered to fight the ongoing regulatory clampdown and while no ground has been given by European politicians at this moment in time, there is hope for the future. If sufficient signatories can be gathered against the European Parliament’s electronic cigarette regulations then these may well need to be reviewed and potentially amended. This is the hope of many who use electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices in the UK and we can only wait to see what happens.

A changing environment

Over the last few months there is no doubt that large tobacco companies have been lobbying against the electronic cigarette industry, looking for strict regulations and perhaps even encouraging additional taxation. However, there seems to have been a change of tack amongst these major corporate bodies and they now seem to have given up the fight against electronic cigarettes and seem ready to embrace them going forward?

While in public many of the larger tobacco cigarette companies will complain about any future punitive fees associated with new electronic cigarette products, in private they may not be so critical. There is growing concern that many smaller electronic cigarette and vaping operations may struggle to raise funds to cover future regulatory costs which could potentially leave the field wide open for the financial elite.

What next for the industry?

We are still in a relatively early stage of regulation within the US and within Europe although the situation will become much clearer in the short to medium term. The fact is that the electronic cigarette industry is here to stay, will only grow in the future and many expect the number of electronic cigarette users to outnumber their tobacco cigarette counterparts very soon, possibly within 10 years.

In many ways regulators around the world have left it too late to control the electronic cigarette industry, they dismissed it as something of a fad many years ago and have been found wanting. They will be looking to regain the upper hand but this will take some time especially when the very vocal and very passionate vaping community are called to arms!

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
01-05-2014 08:54 PM
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