European parliament imposes tough restrictions on e-cigarettes : fairwarning

European Parliament Imposes Tough Restrictions on E Cigarettes

on February 27, 2014


Plan approved to ban e cigarette ads by mid 2016 in the European Union’s 28 nations. The advertising prohibition approved by the European Parliament matches the existing ban on ads for tobacco products. The new rules also call for e cigarettes to carry graphic health warnings. The amount of nicotine would be limited to 20 milligrams per milliliter, similar to ordinary cigarettes. Governments around the globe are grappling with how to regulate e cigarettes, which turn nicotine infused propylene glycol into an inhalable vapor. As sales of e cigarettes have ballooned, the debate over the public health implications has intensified. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue regulations for the devices soon, and some U.S. cities already have banned e cigarettes in public places. The New York Times

Food labels would get larger font calorie counts and more realistic portion sizes under an Obama proposal. The proposal, being officially unveiled today, would significantly revise nutrition labels for the first time in 20 years. It aims to make it easier for consumers to decipher unhealthy ingredients in packaged foods. The proposed labels wouldn’t take effect for at least two years. Industry groups are expected to push for changes, and the proposal is open to a 90 day comment period before being finalized. The FDA took the unusual step of also printing up an alternate new label that could help gauge whether the public wants more robust changes. Nutritional labels have remained essentially unchanged since 1994, except for an addition in 2006 of heart risky trans fats. The Wall Street Journal

Report underscores how little is known about health consequences of the nation’s gas drilling boom. The assessment, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, said «despite broad public concern,» there have been «no comprehensive population based studies of the public health effects» of the drilling boom that began a decade ago due to advances in fracking and other drilling techniques. The report examined available research on shale gas drilling and concluded that many studies analyzed the level of pollutants in the air or water, but didn’t track how the exposures are connected to local health trends, even though energy production releases toxic chemicals. «You’re not going to find anything if you don’t look,» one of the authors said. The Center for Public Integrity/InsideClimate News/The Weather Channel

U.S. Canadian agency calls for limits on the use of fertilizer around Lake Erie. The aim is to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the water and creating a blanket of algae each summer, threatening fisheries, tourism and even drinking water. The agency, the International Joint Commission, said fertilizer swept by rains from farms and lawns was a major source of phosphorus in the lake. It recommended that crop insurance be tied to farmers adoption of practices that limit fertilizer runoff, and that Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania ban most sales of phosphorus based lawn fertilizers. The proposals are likely to encounter strong opposition from the agricultural industry and fertilizer manufacturers, which already have asked a U.S. appeals court to block regulation of farm related pollution along the Chesapeake Bay. The New York Times

Thirteen workers at underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico test positive for radiation exposure. Managers of the government site near Carlsbad initially said not any of the 139 employees working above ground when an accidental leak of toxic particles occurred on Feb. 14 were exposed to radioactive contaminants. That assessment was based on external testing of the workers’ skin and clothing. But new analyses of biological samples taken from the workers showed that 13 were in fact exposed to radioactive particles. A U.S. Energy Department official said it would be «premature» to «speculate on the health effects of these preliminary results or any treatment that may be needed.» He did not give details on the level of contamination detected. Reuters, The Associated Press

Sen. Rand Paul puts a hold on President Obama’s choice for surgeon general, citing the nominee’s views on gun violence. In a letter explaining his position, the Kentucky Republican said the nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, «has disqualified himself from being Surgeon General because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on Americans right to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign. Although Paul criticizes Murthy s position that doctors should ask patients about guns in their homes, medical associations and children’s advocacy groups have taken similar stances. Despite Paul’s opposition, new filibuster rules will allow the Senate to take a confirmation vote on Murthy. ThinkProgress, The Washington Post

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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Reduced ignition propensity cigarettes

The RIP Coalition is pleased to announce that it has achieved its goal to make reduced ignition propensity or «fire safer» cigarettes a legal requirement in the UK and European Union. From 17 November 2011 all cigarettes sold throughout the EU must conform to the new standard.

Members of the RIP Coalition have been campaigning for the new standard since 2007 to reduce the number of avoidable deaths and injuries resulting from fires started by cigarettes.

Cigarettes are the biggest cause of domestic fire deaths in the UK causing over 100 fatalities each year. In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, smokers materials caused 2,814 fires and 101 deaths.

How do RIP cigarettes work?

A simple change in the design of cigarettes (two narrow bands of slightly thicker paper) greatly reduces the likelihood of unattended cigarettes continuing to burn, dramatically cutting the risk of fire. Tobacco companies could have introduced the change voluntarily but they refused. They even campaigned against laws that would bring in these «fire safer» cigarettes.

However, thanks to persistent lobbying by health and fire safety organisations, all cigarettes now sold in the EU are required to comply with the new fire safety standard.

In 2010, Finland became the first EU country to require fire safer cigarettes and the number of smoking related fire deaths fell by 40% in one year.

Click here to see the London Fire Brigade s press release

RIP Implementation update by Sir Ken Knight

Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor to the UK Government, has written to Deborah Arnott and the RIP coalition to provide an update on the RIP implementation later this year.

Download a pdf of the letter by clicking here.

RIP cigarettes for Europe before the end of 2011

The RIP Coalition understands that «fire safer cigarettes» should be in UK shops within the year. Negotiations at the European Union have been progressing well since the CEN, Europe s standard making body, published the standard and test method on 17th November 2010. Once the standard is referenced in the Official Journal of the European Union, which is usually 12 months after it is published, companies will be required to meet it. Therefore we expect the standard to be in force on or around 17th November, 2011.

European Committee for Standardization

RIP Law to cover entire US population

Eleven more US states now require all cigarettes sold to conform to the Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) standard, bringing the total to 43 states. Laws came into force on 1 January 2010 in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Missouri will all implement legislation during 2010, followed by South Dakota in January 2011 and Wyoming in July 2011. Wyoming became the 50 and last state to pass legislation to protect smokers and their families from the old style cigarettes, on 19 March 2010.

Cigarettes had been the number one cause of preventable fire deaths across the US until the State of New York became the first to implement RIP legislation in 2004 against fierce tobacco industry resistance. Canada was the first country to introduce RIP Cigarettes nationwide, while legislation in Australia came into force on 23 March 2010.

Tobacco manufacturers don’t sell firesafer cigarettes in the UK where cigarettes continue to be the largest cause of domestic fire deaths causing up to 3,000 fires per year. The European Union is currently developing a standard to be introduced across Europe, however Finland has introduced its own regulations from 1 April 2010.