According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on November 27th, tobacco company British American Tobacco (BAT), based in London, is calling for “stricter” regulation of e-cigarettes. This includes the implementation of a licensing system similar to alcohol and cigarettes. In addition, BAT also hopes to ban “specifically” flavored e-cigarettes targeting children.
Due to concerns over the increasing number of young people using e-cigarettes, the government is now considering implementing new regulations. It has pledged to legislate after the ongoing public consultation.
According to market research firm NielsenIQ, British American Tobacco is the third largest e-cigarette retailer in the United Kingdom. The company also sells Rothmans and Lucky Strike cigarettes and is the most successful Western tobacco company in the thriving disposable e-cigarette market in the UK, which is estimated to be worth at least £3 billion annually.
British American Tobacco calls for licenses to be issued to e-cigarette retailers and for the licenses of companies found selling e-cigarettes to minors to be revoked.
The company also aims to ban soft drinks, sweet flavors, or dessert-like flavors such as gummy bears or marshmallows, as it believes these flavors have a particular appeal to young people.
According to a recent survey by the anti-smoking organization Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), 20.5% of children have tried e-cigarettes, which is higher than the 15.8% recorded in 2022. In response to this concerning trend, the Local Government Association is calling for a ban on the use of disposable e-cigarettes. The association highlights the environmental issues associated with e-cigarette waste and the risk of fires caused by discarded devices. They are also urging for stricter regulations to discourage children from using these products.
Despite experts warning that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, they still contain addictive nicotine and can indeed have an impact on health, which is not yet fully understood.
The UK representative of the British American Tobacco company, Asli Ertonguc, stated:
We understand that some individuals wish to completely ban disposable e-cigarettes, but we are concerned that such a move could result in unregulated sales and reduce the choices for adult smokers who want to quit smoking.
The British American Tobacco company is calling for a ban on the use of cartoon characters on cigarette packaging. However, it is not in favor of banning the use of colorful packaging, advertisements, or sports sponsorships, as BAT itself sponsors the McLaren racing team.
The consultation on e-cigarette regulations is set to conclude on December 6th, with England, Scotland, and Wales expected to enact legislation “as soon as possible.