What experts say about e-cigs

Opinion is often split on the subject of electronic cigarettes, as Jason Hesse discovers talking to sector leaders


Katherine Devlin, president of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association

“At the moment, smokers have no choice: it’s ‘quit or die’. Everyone is waiting for smokers to just get on and die – that’s the message we’re getting from the World Health Organization and the government. It’s disgusting. Smokers should be told the truth about their options. E-cigarettes are products that offer freedom of choice for consumers and give them an alternative option to the ‘quit or die’ approach.”

Professor Robert West, director of tobacco studies at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre

“The principle of a pure nicotine delivery system to substitute cigarettes would be a massive benefit in terms of public health. But it needs to be regulated. Nicotine is a toxin, which is highly active on the central nervous system. I can’t see how you can have what is clearly a pharmaceutical product with a psychoactive drug without medicinal regulation. It’s not logical.”

Simon Christou, founder of UK e-cigarette brand Liberro

“The future of our industry rests squarely on effective regulation, customer support and the continued development of quality products. We have seen strong growth in our market since we started in 2008 and we have innovated many new products. But further work needs to be done to raise the level of consumer understanding that our industry is regulated.  E-cigs offer a real alternative to tobacco cigarettes, that are healthier and that help to save customers money.”

Dr David O’Reilly, group scientific director of British American Tobacco

“The small e-cigarette players will disappear over time, because as these products become more popular and more consumers want to use them, big players will use their important supply chains and marketing firepower to overtake them. But it is mostly the burden of regulation that will change the market. Unless you are prepared to invest a lot of money into the necessary science and clinical work to show that your product is efficacious, you’re done.”