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E-cig firm backs under-age ban

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

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AN ELECTRONIC cigarette company which has a store in St Erth said it backs government legislation to ban under 18s from purchasing its products.

Liberty Flights, one of the leading e-cigarette manufacturers in the UK, has welcomed the amendment to the Children and Families Bill to make it illegal to sell to youngsters under the age of 18, and for adults to purchase products on their behalf.

Matthew Moden, a director at Liberty Flights, said: "As company policy we have never sold to under 18s. We welcome [the legislation]. It's bizarre adults can't buy cigarettes for under 18s but children can smoke them at 16."

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device which contains liquid, including nicotine, heated to a vapour.

Liberty Flights said e-cigarettes aim to deliver an authentic nicotine experience without the dangers of a conventional cigarette and with 1.5m sales in the past year the company is expanding with more than 15 stores.

Mr Moden added that it was slightly hypocritical for the Government to focus on e-cigarettes, which, he said, are "1,000 times healthier", than a conventional cigarette, when better regulations could be made in the tobacco industry.

"I think there's a lot of scaremongering. In a harm reduction debate this is much safer and healthier than smoking a cigarette," said Mr Moden.

He denied that the range of flavours his shop supplies, such as strawberry and bubblegum, would attract young people to use the product.

"We don't encourage people to take up a nicotine habit. It's an exit from smoking not a gateway."

Mr Moden said the company had a very strict control process about what was added to the liquid and worked closely with trading standards.

However, Smokefree South West, a body created to reduce smoking rates in the county, said it had concerns that e-cigarettes seemed to be targeting the younger market.

Fiona Andrews, director of Smokefree South West, said: "The market for these products is too new to tell whether flavours will attract non-smoking children. We are concerned some flavours, like bubblegum, appear to be chosen to appeal to adolescents rather than adults.

"Regulated e-cigs are likely to be less harmful than smoked tobacco. However, we still don't want young people to get addicted to nicotine."

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