Electronic cigarette retailer ECigaretteDirect.co.uk says hundreds of jobs could be lost if the EU is successful in imposing tighter regulation on products containing nicotine. The Swansea based firm which itself employs 14 people at its distribution centre and high street stores, has joined a growing Europe wide lobby against a Brussels proposal to class e-cigs as medicines in the same way as nicotine gums and patches which help smokers quit. E-cigarettes contain nicotine but vaporise waste products and manufacturers claim they are an alternative to standard tobacco cigarettes which produce damaging tar and smoke as well as help smokers cut down or quit. Its estimated around 1.3 million people use them in the UK with the market expected to reach 250m per year in 2014. ECigaretteDirect.co.uk co-founder James Dunworth buys his products from China where they are made under licence and distributes them through an online site and a high street store. He said: Classing e-cigarettes as medicines will destroy businesses such as ours as the tests required will cost about 1m per product and we have 30 different flavours.
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Health officials worry about electronic cigarette push in Colorado
The lack of federal regulations on e-cigarettesin contrast to tight rules on traditional smokeshas given companies a long leash. Sales of the products are projected to double to $1 billion, with about 250 different brands, all without nationwide restrictions on advertising, Internet sales, flavorings or even the age of buyers. But those days are numbered. Vivien Azer, a Citigroup tobacco analyst, said the lack of federal regulations has given e-cig companies “some breathing room” to grow.
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E-cig sellers jockey for market position before FDA issues regulations
The largest concentration of e-cigarette ads are online. But, with big companies like RJ Reynolds entering the marketplace, some predict advertising on TV, radio and billboards is not far behind. “By around August we should start seeing significant TV advertising, as well as online,” said Colorado-based marketing executive Brent Green. In addition, he said, “there will be live sampling at nightclubs and festivals where people gather.” Green, a critic of e-cigarettes, highlighted the dangers of romanticizing e-cigarettes.
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