A Fleetwood e-cigarette dealer, and one of the port’s European MPs, have called on European authorities not to classify the devices as medical products.
Fleetwood MEP Paul Nuttall claims tobacco consumption will increase – not decrease – after the EU proposed measures to regulate e-cigarettes.
Mr Nuttall, UKIP’s environment spokesman, says the new regulations on e-cigarettes would backfire, as the electronic devices have been linked to people lowering their dependence on tobacco.
MEPs propose that the nicotine concentration of e-cigs should not exceed 20 mg/ml; they should be childproof and should carry health warnings.
They would also be subject to the same advertising restrictions as tobacco products.
But, as has also been considered, if they were to be sold as medical products which help people quit smoking, they would need to be sold in pharmacies.
Mr Nuttall said: “By increasing the regulation of e-cigs as medical products to be sold in pharmacies if they claim to help smokers quit, the EU would be restricting a product which is actually helping people lower their dependence on tobacco.
“If their aim was to curb tobacco consumption, this directive will achieve the very opposite.”
Other plans include scrapping the smaller packs of 10 cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and flavoured tobacco, as all these are believed to encourage younger smokers.
The proposals are to be approved by the Council of Ministers on March 14. Member states would have to put the provisions on tobacco products into effect within two years of the updated directive’s date of entry into force.
In Fleetwood, Lord Street shop E-Vapours sells the e-cigs.
Mandy Carney, 38, who manages the shop, said: “I haven’t smoked a tobacco cigarette for 18 months since I took up e-cigs, and I feel a lot better for it and so does my husband. They are a lot healthier and have less chemicals than normal cigarettes.
“I don’t sell to under 18s and wouldn’t want to encourage kids to smoke. The worst thing for us would be if e-cigs could only be sold through pharmacies because we would be out of business, and so would a lot of similar shops.”