Calls by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for stricter controls on the selling and use of e-cigarettes have been criticised by doctors who have developed their own brand of e-cigarette.
A report by WHO suggests that restrictions should be placed on the marketing of the devices, their sale to minors, and indoor use.
It adds that claims about the health benefits of their use should be prohibited until “manufacturers provide convincing supporting scientific evidence and obtain regulatory approval”.
“It is likely that a two-pronged regulatory strategy – regulating [e-cigarettes] as both a tobacco product, in accordance with the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and as a medical product – would be necessary,” the report says.
The report is to be presented to a WHO conference in October, and if it is agreed the government would be obliged to follow its recommendations.
However, e-cigarette company One Lite – owned and developed by a team of doctors – believes tighter controls will lead to fewer people switching from traditional tobacco or quitting smoking altogether.
Dr Aman Singh, director of Birmingham-based One Lite, said: “We firmly believe that what WHO is proposing could have a very negative impact on the future health of smokers.
“Research on electronic cigarettes is at the early trials stage, but it is showing that e-cigarettes can be as effective as Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTSs) - with some users of electronic cigarettes having now stopped for good.
“Here at One Lite, we’re proud that ours is the only e-cigarette developed with doctors. We differ from other brands by ensuring our products are produced within our UK-based laboratories using only pharmaceutical grade nicotine and food grade flavouring. Each and every batch is fully tested for quality and purity to ensure it meets our standards prior to it being signed off and released for consumer use.
“We truly feel that the electronic cigarette industry can be a massive positive for the health of smokers, causing less strain on the NHS and offering an alternative to traditional cigarettes. By offering a range of strengths and flavours we can help to wean smokers off the habit and their addiction to nicotine. What’s more, research shows that there is no passive smoke harm done to none users.”
He added: “We as a brand are very strict on the way our products are advertised and promoted as an alternative to smoking and we always stress that they are for adults only. All of our marketing is kept in line with this, and our packaging clearly states that our products are for sale to over-18s only.
“We also work hard to ensure that the flavours we have developed are not encouraging young people to take up smoking, but are directed at existing smokers who now prefer to vape e-liquids.”