EAST Lancashire MEP Chris Davies vowed to continue to campaign for e-cigarette users after a key European Parliament committee voted to restrict e-cigarettes.

MEPs voted to treat e-cigarettes as medicines earlier this week. It means e-cigs will have to go through a lengthy, and costly, approval process before marketing, although they will still be available without a prescription.

E-cigarettes work by vaporising nicotine that is then inhaled, providing nicotine addicts with their ‘hit’ without many of the carcinogens and second-hand smoke produced by conventional cigarettes.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Davies said: “E-cigs are a potential game changer in the fight against tobacco. They can help people break their addiction in a way conventional nicotine replacement therapies will never do. They could save millions of lives.”

Mr Davies visited Blackburn e-cigarette manufacturer and retailer Totally Wicked last month.

North West MEP Jacqueline Foster visited the firm yesterday, and said thousands of ex-smokers could find themselves back on the habit if the latest proposals from the European Commission are approved at a full European Council vote in September.

Totally Wicked director Fraser Cropper said: “Medicines regulation creates a default prohibition and requirement for approval, leaving deadly tobacco cigarettes as the only easily-marketed source of nicotine.”

At Blackburn with Darwen Council executive board, Youth MP Harry Bithell voiced concern about the use of e-cigarettes among youngsters. He said: “Some young people are smoking these and then going on to normal cigarettes. I want schools to be as tough on them as they are on smoking normal cigarettes.”

Council leader Kate Hollern said: “If young people are using e-cigarettes as a way of stopping smoking normal ones, that is good. If they are using them to look cool, and then starting on normal cigarettes, that is bad.”

Totally Wicked said it would welcome legislation outlawing the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.