European Commission against the rulings of European Parliament.

27/11/2013

The European Commission is currently working on the 170th amendment to Art. 18 of the Tobacco Directive of the European Parliament and Council on e-cigarettes. The directive was to be a basis for further negotiations, but the European Commission chose to fully ignore the will and voice of the Parliament by introducing completely new proposals. This is an attempt at drastic toughening of regulations for majority of products.

 

The following bans are currently under preparation:

  • a ban for the most popular devices filled with liquids (clearomizers and atomizers, among else).Only disposable cartridges will be allowed.
  • ban on using liquids with nicotine content above 20 mg/ml
  • withdrawing of almost all flavors, except the ones recommended by NRT (nicotine replacement therapy)
  • ban on cross-border, distance and online sales
  • ban on advertising in media (press, TV, radio, other audio-visual media and in the Internet, including social media).

The public opinion compares the situation to the war waged by politicians against e-cigarette companies. Experts and doctors are not indifferent to these astonishing news. Among them, Konstantinos Farsalinos, Ph.D. and Fraser Cropper, the CEO of Totally Wicked, who speak in strong voice on this matter: "These conclusions are based on complete lack of knowledge on how e-cigarettes work, and, more importantly, have been drawn without consultations with people who use these products in order to stay away from traditional cigarettes."

We should take a moment and think why such regulations are proposed, what their purpose is and how they bring benefits to public health.


From the consumers' perspective, unjustified changes impact the satisfied e-smokers who, thanks to e-cigarettes, could either largely reduce their habit or quit smoking altogether. There is also the danger that black market will emerge and that many ex-smokers will revert to smoking regular tobacco products.

From business perspective, applying excessive constraints and limitations will significantly limit commercial freedom. Is bowing to pharmaceutical companies, who protect their own nicotine products, not undermining healthy competition?

From legal standpoint, introducing new legal regulations requires proper consultations, justification and evaluation. So far, no detailed analyses have been done.

Public health experts point out that the new regulations will be a strong blow to products which are currently considered to be 99% safer than regular cigarettes.

The final versions of amendments will be drawn up by December 3rd and will be later recognized by the European Parliament where final decisions will be voted on.

eSmoking Institute takes a firm stand in this matter. Regulations concerning e-cigarettes are necessary, but they cannot force these products completely out of the market. We should always have in mind those who successfully quit or reduced smoking thanks to these products. It is also unsettling to see how science and results of research are completely ignored by the European Commission.

 


C. Bates, "They just don’t get it – Commission proposal for the regulation of e-cigarettes", http://www.clivebates.com/?p=1655 [accessed 27.11.2013].

Dr K. Farsalinos, "The European Union ignores science and common sense by making proposals that will damage the health of smokers and vapers", http://ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/2013-04-07-09-50-07/139-the-european-union-ignores, [accessed 27.11.2013].