It is reasonable to assume that if existing smokers switched completely from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes there would be a lower disease burden caused by nicotine addiction.
However, e-cigarettes are not harmless and pending more evidence, the precautionary principle would dictate that it is desirable to limit use and uptake, in particular among children and young people.
It would be regrettable if e-cigarettes achieved popularity as high as that of conventional cigarettes only for evidence to show that the harm of long-term use is potentially much higher than suspected today. The more so, since in many European countries smoking is declining and has been declining over the past decades without the use of e-cigarettes.
European Heart Network (EHN) considers that the regulatory framework for e-cigarettes in the EU as set out in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is pertinent.
To complement the measures in the TPD, EHN recommends that EU Member States:
A. consider restricting use of e-cigarettes in public places
B. prohibit access for children and young people
C. restrict marketing
D. use tax measures as appropriate
Countries in Europe that are not members of the European Union are encouraged to adopt the measures included in the TPD complemented by the measures listed under A. to D.