Okay, so over the last few weeks I have sent off several letters, on the subject of electronic cigarettes (leccys) to various MPs, MEPs etc, and one of my letters was to the Department of Health - and today I have received a reply.
The reply came from Anna Soubry MP - who is a Health Minister in the government.
It does indicate what kind of time frame the government are looking at in terms of e-cig regulations.
The first half is the usual waffle, and the final 2 paragraphs say :
We want to ensure that an effective regulatory framework exists to protect consumers from any electronic cigarette products that fail to meet acceptable standards for quality, safety and efficacy. Reducing the public health impact of smoking remains a priority for the Department of Health. We do not want to reduce the availability of products that help to reduce smoking but we do want to ensure that smokers have access to products that are acceptably safe and that support smokers in reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke or quit.
The Government will be reviewing the proposals in the draft TPD carefully, with the ongoing work of the MHRA in mind. The TPD proposals will be discussed by the Member States and by the European Parliament and will be subject to change during this process. This means that the legislation is unlikely to be adopted before 2014 or to come into effect before 2015-2016.
I hope this reply is helpful.
A couple of points there - first of all the Government say that they do not want to "reduce the availability of products that help to reduce smoking" - that's good. Electronic cigarettes help to reduce smoking, everybody knows that, okay there might be some smokers that do not get on with them, but overall it is pretty damn obvious that electronic cigarettes "reduce smoking".
Secondly, and I think more importantly, they indicate the time frame that the Government is looking at. It would appear that the MHRA proposals that were due to be introduced in Spring this year have been sidelined and that legislation is unlikely to be adopted before 2014 or to come into effect before 2015-2016.
Which gives us plenty of time to get it amended. It also means that :
We have the time-scales and every chance that before the legislation is 'adopted' we will have surpassed the Tipping Point - e-cig sales are growing exponentially at the moment, and in 2 years time there will be far too many million people using them here in the UK, let alone the EU, to make it practical for the Government to effectively introduce any severely restrictive regulations.