U.K. MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of the stance taken by 53 health specialists in encouraging the World Health Organization to adopt tobacco harm reduction policies.
A story based on the specialists’ views was included here on May 30.
A summary of the EDM published on the U.K. parliament’s website said: ‘That this House [House of Commons] notes the opinion of leading world public health experts, including Professor Robert West of University College, London, that e-cigarettes have the potential to save hundreds of millions of lives across the world; believes that, if regulators treat low-risk nicotine products as traditional tobacco products, they are improperly defining them; regrets the decision of the EU to regulate e-cigarettes in strange and contradictory ways and believes that such inappropriate constraints upon the labelling and sale of e-cigarettes will have the perverse effect of reducing the rate at which cigarette use is declining; further notes the potentially enormous health benefits that e-cigarettes could bring to developing nations; accepts the health and economic benefits which e-cigarettes can bring to the least well-off; urges public authorities to regard e-cigarettes as a positive and not as an equivalent to cigarettes; and further urges the Government to impress upon the World Heath Organisation that encouraging, rather than discouraging, e-cigarette manufacture, sale and use will bring great health benefits across the world.
EDMs are used by MPs to express their opinion on something or to draw the attention of the Commons to a particular issue or campaign. Other MPs can show their support for a particular EDM by adding their signature to it.
While they are not normally debated, an EDM that attracts hundreds of signatures from MPs of all parties is likely to result in some kind of response from the government.