Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is asking the EU for tougher regulation of E-Cigarettes. E-Cigarettes are in competition with the drug company’s own Nicorette gums and other related products. Pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Novartis AG also make smoking cessation products. The UK already has plans to regulate the E-Cigarettes industry, requiring companies producing the products to license E-Cigarettes as a nicotine-replacement therapy. Licensing E-Cigarettes as a medicine will bring this market more in-step with the pharmaceutical industry, as far as requirements in the development and marketing of products under strict medical regulations. GlaxoSmithKline’s Vice President of European public affairs, Sophie Crousse, has stated that her company feels the E-Cigarette industry is creating medical products. “We believe in responsible and proportionate regulation for all nicotine-containing products as medicinal products,” Crousse said in an email. The European Commission is looking at changing its current Tobacco Products Directive in order to regulate new tobacco related products such as E-Cigarettes. European industry experts believe that E-Cigarettes will produce over $7 billion in sales by the end of 2014.
Late last year, the EU and the European Parliament decided that the E-Cigarettes with the highest nicotine content would need to be marketed as a medicine. However, GlaxoSmithKline is lobbying for all E-Cigarettes on the market to be labeled as a medicine, in addition to banning advertisements for E-Cigarette products. Simon Steel, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, said the company is concerned about safety. “Safety is our number one priority and we support the smoker’s right to choose from a selection of products that have well established safety and efficacy profile in helping them quit smoking.”