STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Sale of e-cigarettes, a non-tobacco nicotine delivery system, will not be tightly regulated, the European Parliament said Tuesday in Strasbourg, France.
The popular electronic cigarettes, used largely by smokers eager to end their habit, depend on fluid nicotine heated by a battery, and Europe's directives for their sale fill a legal vacuum for a new product whose explosive growth has left health officials and regulators struggling to catch up, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The ruling, called the Tobacco Product Directive, imposes restrictions on advertising and sale of the product to those under age 18, but does not include health officials' proposals that e-cigarettes be tightly regulated as medicines, the newspaper added.
Charles Hamshaw-Thomas, corporate affairs director of E-Lites, Europe's biggest-selling e-cigarette brand, called the ruling "a fantastic result for public health and millions of smokers around Europe who are switching to e-cigarettes."
Chris Davies, a supporter of e-cigarettes, said the product can reduce the number of smoking-related deaths, adding, "We should not make it more difficult to buy e-cigarettes than tobacco."
An unidentified Swedish member of the European Parliament, however, warned, "These e-cigarettes are not a path to giving up smoking but a gateway to starting smoking."