European mps say ‘no’ to crackdown on electronic cigarettes

Critics fear electronic cigarettes could ‘trick’ young people into smoking GETTY

Backers of “e cigarettes” argued that a new licensing system would reduce availability of a key weapon against smoking and would penalise firms with large costs.

The UK Government wanted tighter regulation of the tobacco free products, which turn a solution containing nicotine into vapour which users “smoke” through a cylinder.

Critics fear they could “trick” young people into smoking. The Department of Health admitted it was disappointed the European Parliament had rejected stricter regulation and vowed to keep pressing for the devices to be treated like medicines.

The vote was the Parliament s first on the draft EU Tobacco Directive which could become law next year and be implemented across Europe within two years.

There will now be more negotiations between the Parliament and EU member states to try to get agreement before next May s European elections.

The UK s medicines regulator has already said it wants e cigs to be treated like other nicotine products to ensure their quality and content can be checked.

E cigarettes turn a nicotine solution into vapour which is ‘smoked’ through a cylinder GETTY

Forcing e cigs off the shelves would have been totally crazy

Tory MEP Martin Callanan

But British Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies welcomed the vote, saying “E cigs can be a game changer in the fight against smoking.”

Tory MEP Martin Callanan said “Forcing e cigs off the shelves would have been totally crazy.”

MEPs dismayed campaigners by rejecting a ban on flavoured brands, such as menthol cigarettes.

Related articles

  • Sean Penn puffs on an E cigarette during live Clinton Global Initiative conference
  • MEPs back tough new tobacco rules
  • EU rules to ban menthol cigarettes
  • TV s Archie Macpherson Years in smoke filled press boxes left me with cancer

European lawmakers: good news and bad news for e-cigarettes

The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, has approved comprehensive tobacco regulations to curb smoking in Europe. The rules include a ban on menthol cigarettes and new restrictions on electronic cigarettes.

The law isn’t final it still has to be reviewed by other branches of the European Union’s government. But its passage means that a the hotly contested debate over tobacco products in Europe is finally nearing an end.

Defenders of the smokeless tobacco product, speaking to the New York Times , cheered Parliament’s decision to spare e cigarettes from a proposal to regulate them as medical devices, which would have restricted their sale to pharmacies in some countries.

But the measure imposed stricter limits on advertising in Europe, a subject that is sure to be controversial in the U.S. as well.

The European vote is a step in the right direction” Craig Weiss, the CEO of NJOY, a market leader in the American e cigarette market wrote in an email. “At the same time, we are concerned about the proposed advertising restrictions. It is critical that companies like NJOY be able to fully inform tobacco smokers that they have an alternative.

American tobacco companies have endured tough advertising restrictions since 1970, including a ban on television advertising that does not extend to e cigarettes. E cigarette makers, taking advantage of the current lack of regulation, have expanded their marketing efforts. In the first quarter of 2013, according to Kantar Media, spending on e cigarette advertising rose to $15.7 million in the U.S., up from $2 million in the same period last year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not regulate electronic cigarettes as medical devices either, but it has set a deadline to begin the process of regulating them as tobacco product by the end of October, a deadline that could be pushed back by the government shutdown. TIME explored the coming regulations in an investigation in September. Restrictions on print, radio, and television advertising are a possibility.