NEW Brussels rules to ensure electronic cigarettes can be sold as freely as their tobacco alternatives have been welcomed by East Lancashire Euro-MP Chris Davies.

Overruling national governments, the European Parliament defeated proposals to classify e-cigarettes as medicines.

Instead, they insisted that e-cigarettes with a nicotine content of 20mg/l or under should be regarded as consumer products.

Liberal Democrat Mr Davies said the new rules bring e-cigarettes, produced by a number of East Lancashire firms, into the mainstream of business.

He said: “This is a compromise that won’t please everyone, but it'’s a huge improvement on the e-cig ban that was threatened.

“We don't yet know the long term consequences of using e-cigs, but it must be likely they will be healthier than tobacco.”