European commission proposes ban on all currently available electronic cigarettes : eu reporter

EU Reporter Correspondent November 26, 2013 12 Comments

According to electronic cigarettes manufacturer Totally Wicked Ltd, documents, not intended for public consumption, defined last week in Brussels set out proposals from the European Commission, that if implemented would see all currently available electronic cigarettes removed from the market. These Commission proposals have been drafted as part of the negotiations taking place behind closed doors in Brussels to revise the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

Among other things, the Commission proposes a ban on all refill liquids, a ban on refillable atomizers, a ban on almost all flavours, and arbitrary restrictions on nicotine levels without any justification. These proposals would subject electronic cigarettes to a significantly stricter regulatory regime than tobacco cigarettes.

Presently there are 10 million smokers in the UK. Every year, 114,000 UK citizens die from tobacco related illnesses according to figures produced by the NHS. Policymakers need to focus on reducing this number, says Totally Wicked conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this in any significant number, but electronic cigarettes are. Already 1.3 million UK smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes. If current growth rates continue, by 2017, when the revised TPD is due to come into force, there could be nearly five million former UK smokers using electronic cigarettes.

However, if the European Commission succeeds in having these proposals adopted there will be a shutdown of the general sale of currently available electronic cigarette products from 2017 throughout the UK and the wider EU.

This would leave tobacco cigarettes as the only freely available source of nicotine and those nearly five million e cigarette users would be left with no option but to go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Totally Wicked Chief Executive Officer Fraser Cropper said Behind closed doors in Brussels, unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats are drafting proposals that will deny millions of existing and former smokers access to a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. These proposals are based on a total lack of knowledge of how an electronic cigarette functions, and more importantly these proposals are being drafted without any consultation with the people who rely on these products to prevent them returning to tobacco cigarettes.

«Gross incompetence, craven capitulation to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries or more sinister corrupt regulation, take your pick. However, what is absolutely clear is that these few individuals are attempting to destroy the utility of a truly remarkable product in the interests of perpetuating a sinister duopoly that is contrary to the interests of European public health and basic morality.

«Taken together, these proposals represent a ban on all currently available electronic cigarettes. This is contrary to the position taken by MEPs on the 8th of October who favoured preserving the market in its current form. Does the UK government support these proposals? We need to know and Parliament needs to have the opportunity to debate these proposals as a matter of priority.

For a copy of the European Commission document, click here.

Tags featured, full image, nicotine replacement therapies, public consumption, refillable atomizers, Tobacco Products Directive, Totally Wicked Ltd, TPD

Category Electronic cigarettes, European Commission, Frontpage, Health

[press release] public health must be at the heart of the eu regulation of e-cigarettes — european public health alliance

As currently evidence on the health impacts of NCPs such as e cigarettes is lacking, we urge the Trialogue to adopt the precautionary principle to shape regulation of NCPs. «Without a robust regulatory framework in place in the EU, e cigarettes are now hanging in a legal limbo. It is essential that this emerging range of products is urgently regulated to safeguard people’s health«, said Monika Kosinska, Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) «To achieve this, Brussels has to make sure that strict rules on advertising and sponsorship as well as market surveillance and monitoring are the corner stones of new legislation, whilst ensuring that the products are accessible to existing smokers«.

As the EPHA briefing states, lack of strict regulation of NCPs, or maintaining long transitional periods which is equivalent to maintaining the status quo, has the potential danger to drive market developments that are detrimental to public health.

Although high quality NCPs have the potential to help smokers who are not otherwise ready or able to quit smoking, NCPs must not become a gateway to cigarettes, especially for young people, and must not re normalise smoking. The future legal framework must ensure that accessibility to NCPs for existing smokers (4) is not hindered while ensuring that they are unappealing and inaccessible to minors.

«Strict marketing limits similar to tobacco and medicine marketing rules are essential so that NCPs do not promote smoking behaviour either in a direct or indirect way, and appropriate measures put in place to allow a regulatory response to the future and fast development of this market «, said Cornel Radu Loghin of the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP).

«We have long argued for harm reduction in tobacco policy and for radical reform of nicotine regulation to enable effective alternative nicotine products to replace smoking. Regulation is needed to ensure appropriate standards of quality and safety, and to protect against market abuse arising from unscrupulous commercial interests. We therefore support proportionate regulation that enables smokers to access affordable nicotine replacement products as easily as possible while ensuring purity, safety and responsible marketing,» stressed Professor John Britton CBE, Royal College of Physicans (RCP).

Given the relative short market presence of some NCPs, in particular e cigarettes, regulation on NCPs will be based on incomplete evidence on the long term health consequences of their use. «Appropriate monitoring and impact assessment mechanisms, including surveys and data on the health risks, benefits and unintended consequences of the use of NCPs, should be an essential part of the EU regulation on these products,» stressed Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). «The Commission must be empowered to adopt new legislation in order to maintain a high level of human health protection in this fast changing field» concluded Luk Joossens of the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL).

Notes to editors

(1) The future legislation of nicotine containing products (NCPs), including e cigarettes, is part of the ongoing discussion on the revision of Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

(2) EPHA Briefing Regulation of Nicotine Containing Products (NCPs) including electronic cigarettes

(3) A briefing from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) on electronic cigarettes is available here. Further information on the use electronic cigarettes in the UK is available here

(4) The provision of information in including tobacco cessation services (quit lines) are crucial to sustained and successful efforts to quit smoking

Contact information

Javier Delgado Rivera, EPHA Communications Coordinator at javier or 32(0) 2 233 3876 (mobile 32(0) 484 919 156)