Speech on the manufacture and sale of tobacco and related products

Struan gave the following speech in Strasbourg during a debate on e-cigarette regulation.

I have no doubt at all that Electronic cigarettes could set millions of non-smokers on the path to nicotine addiction and should therefore be regulated as medicinal products. It is clear that less than a decade since their first appearance they have already become a multi-billion dollar industry, with the major tobacco giants snapping up the key e-cigarette companies and with glamorous movie stars being used to advertise these products in images we haven’t seen since the 1960s.

Scientific studies have shown that some brands contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. They also, of course, contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and itself can cause health issues and little is known about the long-term effects of e-cigarette vapour. This is why some countries like Norway and Brazil have banned the products altogether.

A report released earlier this month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, showed some children who had never before smoked cigarettes were using e-cigarettes, confirming that the devices are a gateway product. One in ten students surveyed in America stated that they had tried e-cigarettes and most of them stated that they had never smoked any other kind of cigarette. Other surveys have reported high levels of smokers using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, indicating that the products are being used to sustain nicotine addiction.

It is delusional to think that electronic cigarettes are somehow a health benefit to society. Their use should be strictly regulated and I support the recommendations of the rapporteur.