A Sunderland business owner, who opened an e-cigarette store after members of his family died from smoking-related illnesses, has backed a European ruling to tax the devices.
Anthony Humphries, who owns City Vapours in Waterloo Place, Sunderland, agrees with forcing 28 members of the European Union to ban advertising and for e-cigarettes to carry health warnings, even though it will harm his business.
Mr Humphries said: “I’ve been in the e-cigarette business for one and a half years and decided to set up this store due to my family. I’ve even made some of them quit through my promotion of e-cigarettes. I myself have never smoked.
“I agree with the European regulations coming in, however it will be detrimental to my business. For example, e-cigarettes are not currently taxable, but by 2016 they will be, just like tobacco cigarettes. That’s like taxing a soft drink in a pub for the same amount as an alcoholic drink, in my opinion.”
E-cigarettes are only allowed to store 20 milligrams of nicotine per millimetre, like regular cigarettes, under the new rules. The ruling, which will take effect in mid-2016, will see regulations imposed on e-cigarettes and “vaping”, as well as a ban on advertising.
Mr Humphries also said that he would like people to take up ‘vaping’ as a valid means of quitting smoking, as opposed to more standard medicines.
He added: “I think e-cigarettes should be advertised, as I believe they are a more proven means of quitting than the patches, gum and NHS courses. Of course, if they had been classed as a medicine, as was originally proposed, it would’ve saved the Government millions of pounds a year in both hospital expenses and street sweepers, as many parts of an e-cigarette are recyclable and reusable.”
Ailsa Rutter, director of the North East anti-smoking group Fresh, said: “We 100 per cent support the introduction of a regulatory framework. We do not think e-cigarettes should be banned, but we want consumers to be aware of their safety and effectiveness as an aid to quitting smoking.
She added: “They are significantly less harmful than combustible tobacco, but we do have concerns around the advertising aspects and selling to minors.
“In an ideal world, we would want nobody to be smoking nicotine or tobacco-containing products.”