European parliament allows electronic cigarettes

It all started long time ago. Electronic cigarettes are to be an issue for many government authorities from the very moment they became such a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. As governors say We do not have enough knowledge on the device and its effects on people health . As a result authorities started to juggle with regulations on e cigs.

In the year 2012 the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted the report by Linda McAVAN (S&D, UK) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products.

The report included an issue on electronic cigarettes. It stressed that Members States have taken different regulatory approaches to address health and safety concerns associated with these products. There is a need for harmonised rules, and all nicotine containing products should be regulated through a medicines regime which recognises the well established use of nicotine. Given the potential of such products to aid with smoking cessation, Member States should ensure that they can be made available outside pharmacies.

Following the decision of UK authorities to regulate electronic cigarettes as medicines starting from 2016, EU Parliament became more active. But along with them, vaping community made its move. The many vaping forums, advocacy actions, and advocacy groups, and the public presence of vapers has made the difference by showing policy makers that while anti smoking groups continue to talk about theoretical people who don’t exist, there are tens of thousands of people who do exist and who are benefiting from these products.

At first decision making was postponed to consider suggested amendments. One of them was stated as follows

Result of the first reading on October 8, 2013 is E cigarettes should be regulated, but not be subject to the same rules as medicinal products unless they are presented as having curative or preventive properties. Those for which no such claims are made should contain no more than 30mg/ml of nicotine, should carry health warnings and should not be sold to anyone under 18 years old. Manufacturers and importers would also have to supply the competent authorities with a list of all the ingredients that they contain. Finally, e cigarettes would be subject to the same advertising restrictions as tobacco products.

Once the legislation is approved by the Council and Parliament, EU member states will have 18 months in which to translate the directive into their national laws, to run from the date when it enters into force. The deadline for phasing out flavours in general is three years, with five additional years for menthol (total eight years). Tobacco products that do not comply with the directive will be tolerated on the market for 24 months, and e cigarettes for 36 months.

Current legislation of electronic cigarettes in EU countries

Quantum Electronic cigarettes will not be regulated as drugs, which could remove them from the market or making it extremely difficult for them to compete as an alternative to real cigarettes.


Europarliament Library

European Parliament/News

European Parliament/Procedure


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.»