A provisional deal reached tonight between MEPs and national governments on a new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will take the majority of e cigarettes off the market.
European Conservatives and Reformists Group leader and shadow rapporteur on the directive Martin Callanan MEP said he could not support the agreement, which would enable the EU to ban ‘refillables’ (which comprise a large component of the e cigs market), if only three EU countries ban them. It would also restrict all but the weaker e cigarettes (20 mg/ml nicotine), and it would introduce burdensome new manufacturing provisions for nicotine cartridges that go beyond the safety measures needed to make then child proof.
The TPD was originally aimed at discouraging younger people from taking up smoking. However, Mr Callanan now believes it could have the perverse effect of pushing people who have moved from real cigarettes to electronic cigarettes back to the more harmful option.
Mr Callanan said
“This is a perverse decision that risks sending more people back to real, more harmful, cigarettes.
“Refillable e cigarettes would almost certainly be banned, and only the weakest products will be generally available. As many smokers begin on stronger e cigs and gradually reduce their dosage, making stronger e cigs harder to come across will encourage smokers to stay on tobacco.
“E cigarettes have helped people give up tobacco. They are not completely safe and they may need regulation but they are a great deal safer than cigarettes and this agreement will make them harder for smokers to obtain.
“The fight is not over. National governments and the parliament plenary must still endorse this deal. We will continue to fight for sensible and proportionate regulation of e cigarettes.
“The EU keeps talking the talk on producing more sensible legislation. This legislation shows it clearly isn’t walking the walk. Thousands of e cigs users have contacted me, and I will keep fighting for them until the last minute.”
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