Ers input into eu debate on electronic cigarettes

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ERS President Professor Francesco Blasi was in Brussels this week to present the ERS perspective in the debate surrounding electronic cigarettes.

MEPs called experts from across the continent to the Parliament to share their views on e cigarettes in a Workshop on Tuesday, 7 May.

The discussion centred on whether e cigarettes need to be regulated or not. Professor Blasi highlighted the lack of scientific evidence on the potential benefits and/or risks of e cigarettes and raised the issue that there are no long term studies showing effects of using the devices.

Professor Blasi called for more research on the positive or negative effects of these products, in particular medium and long term independent clinical trials, behavioural studies and individual/population level post marketing studies. He stated that until this strong scientific evidence exists, policymakers should proceed with caution.

Other speakers included European regulators and consumer associations.

Find out more about the workshop

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European union toughen norms concerning the cigarettes

European Parliament adopted new rules concerning tobacco products. Now the warning signs must dominate the front and back of all packaging (65%). There will also be a ban on flavoured, such as menthol, fruit and vanilla cigarettes. Thus European Union plans to cut the number of smokers by 2.4 million, BBC reports.

The «lipstick style» packs aimed at women are banned. All packs must have at least 20 cigarettes to leave room for health warnings. Roll your own tobacco packs must have similar picture warnings. There is also a ban on promotional elements, such saying «this product is free of additives» or is less harmful than other brands. A maximum nicotine concentration level for e cigarettes is being estimated.

Ministers are expected to endorse the rules in March, to come into force in May 2014. Member states will have two years to introduce the legislation. With the help of this innovations experts plan to reduce tobacco consumption levels by 2% over the next five years. It is possible, that EU will approve standard package of cigarettes without indicating the brand and manufacturer.