Emma mcclarkin mep – european parliament vote sees conservative meps save electronic cigarettes from being taken off the shelves

9th October, 2013

Strasbourg, 8th October 2013 Conservative MEPs have saved electronic cigarettes from being removed from shelves across Europe following a vote in the European Parliament today.

The European Commission sought to classify electronic cigarettes, which have become a popular method of helping people to quit smoking ordinary tobacco cigarettes, as a medicinal product. This would have led to the products being put through a rigorous and costly authorisation procedure after having been taken off shelves while ordinary tobacco cigarettes, which are much more harmful, remained available.

Conservative MEPs led the amendment to remove the classification of e cigarettes as medicinal products in order to make them as widely available as possible. The other main results of the vote include the removal of a ban on slim cigarettes and the enlargement of health warnings on cigarette packets to 65% while still allowing room for effective trademarks to help counter illicit trading.

However, despite Conservative efforts, menthol cigarettes will be banned after an eight year transition period.

Speaking after the vote, Ms McClarkin said

«Today’s vote is a victory for common sense as far as e cigarettes are concerned. Hundreds of my own constituents have written to me telling me how effective these products have been in helping them quit smoking ordinary cigarettes. I am pleased that we can reduce the harm of smoking by continuing to allow e cigarettes to be made as widely available as possible.

This is also a victory for small businesses, many of whom would have struggled to cope with the authorisation demands that the EU would have placed on them by classifying e cigarettes as medicines. Doing otherwise would have cost people jobs.

However, I cannot hide my disappointment that within the decade, my constituents face the prospect of turning up at their local newsagents intending to buy menthol cigarettes and finding out they can’t thanks to todays vote. While I wholeheartedly agree that we need to find ways to stop young people from smoking, I don’t think that young people take up smoking due to menthol. This vote has reduced consumer choice and will only turn voters against the EU even more than before.»

Eu war over e-cigarettes — iol lifestyle

Related Stories

  • Hide cigarette displays, study suggests
  • Light up and kiss wages goodbye
  • Coloureds more at risk to die of smoking

Brussels Makers and users of electronic cigarettes on Tuesday went to war against EU plans to class the devices as medicinal products, saying any such move would end up harming public health.

Days before members of the European Parliament vote on a raft of new anti smoking measures, organisers of the Save E cigs Campaign said medical regulation of the product would condemn «Europe’s seven million e cigarette users to a premature death».

«Medicinal regulation will impose limitations on e cigarettes … and will limit their availability, raise costs and reduce innovation,» a statement said.

«If MEPs vote for medicinal regulation more people will smoke (tobacco) and we will all be forced back to a nightmare we thought we had left behind.»

Parliament next week examines new legislation to be introduced across the European Union to replace rules dating back to 2001, in hopes of reducing the 700 000 deaths attributed to tobacco across the bloc each year.

The UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the safety of e cigarettes «has not been scientifically demonstrated… (and) the potential risks they pose for the health of users remains undetermined».

But e cig users and makers, who say turnover has doubled since 2010, claim the electronic product represent a «public health revolution that has the potential to save millions of lives».

Citing academic studies, they say e cigarettes are safer than conventional ones and are rapidly building market share.

Electronic cigarettes look like their traditional counterparts but are powered by a battery, They vaporise a solution containing nicotine or flavours which the user then inhales.

The new EU rules also include a ban on menthol and other flavoured cigarettes as part of a crackdown on youth smoking while ordering mandatory health warnings on packaging.

If approved, the new law could be in force across the 28 nation bloc within three years. Sapa AFP

Follow IOLlifestyle on Twitter

Get our free Lifestyle newsletter subscribe here…