Heartland Institute Experts Comment on E-Cigarette Decision in Europe

Published October 8, 2013

On Tuesday the European Parliament rejected health officials’ proposals to tightly regulate e-cigarettes. This decision is likely to carry weight in the United States and other countries that have yet to issue their own regulations for these nicotine delivery products.

The following statements from legal, tax, and technology experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“The European Parliament’s decision not to treat e-cigarettes like medical devices is a huge win for smokers trying to quit, and thus great news for public health. Such a move would have made e-cigarettes prohibitively expensive and would have sent the wrong message to cigarette smokers who would consider using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes

“Switching from burning tobacco to combustion-free e-cigarettes would yield significant health benefits both in the short and long terms.

“Banning e-cigarette sales to minors, but keeping them accessible to adults, strikes the right balance.

“But as usual, activists on the nanny state side want the government to get in the way of free-market approaches that work. That they didn’t succeed in Europe is a big win for (actual) public health, but a loss for ideologically driven activist groups. Now, attention shifts to the U.S., where FDA has promised a decision very soon. We can only hope that the FDA takes note of Europe’s rational approach.”

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
National Center for Public Policy Research
[email protected] 312/377-4000

“The European Parliament’s decision to not classify electronic cigarettes as a medical device, which would have made them more difficult for smokers to access, is a decision that could save thousands of lives. E-cigs are a viable option for smokers who are seeking a nicotine replacement therapy. E-cigarettes mimic many of the physiological and psychological triggers of smoking while eliminating the toxins present in real tobacco smoke.

“While e-cigarettes are not a cure-all for smokers attempting to quit, they have shown considerable success for many who have tried them. Legislators in the United States should follow Europe’s example and avoid over-regulating and over-taxing e-cigarettes, which would disrupt an increasingly popular and successful method for helping Americans reduce or even to quit smoking.”

Matthew Glans
Senior Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.