ASH welcomes MHRA’s decision to license e-cigarettes

Wednesday 12 June 2013

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced today that e-cigarettes sold in the UK are to be regulated by the MHRA.

The announcement complements the guidance issued last week by NICE which supports the use of licensed nicotine containing products (NCPs) to help smokers cut down and as a substitute for smoking, possibly indefinitely.

Once licensed by the MHRA, e-cigarettes and other NCPs will remain available for sale as over-the-counter medicines and healthcare professionals will be able to recommend them as nicotine replacement therapy. E-cigarettes will not be required to obtain a medicines licence until the European Commission’s Tobacco Products Directive is agreed and transposed into UK law.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

“ASH welcomes the MHRA’s decision not to follow the lead of a growing number of other countries and ban e-cigarettes, but to regulate them instead. MHRA regulation can ensure that adult smokers can continue to be able to buy e-cigarettes as easily as tobacco, but promotion to children or non-smokers will be prohibited.”

She went on to say:

“Smokers are increasingly choosing to use e-cigarettes. ASH estimates that around 1.3 million smokers and ex-smokers were current users in Spring 2013. Some of the e-cigarette companies are complaining that their products will have to meet medicines standards for efficacy and safety, but for smokers to be confident about the quality of the products they’re buying such regulation is essential.”


Notes and Links

MHRA press release:

[1]     ASH briefing on e-cigarettes

[2]     ASH factsheet on e-cigarette use