European parliament votes down tight regulation of e-cigarettes

By Join Together Staff October 9, 2013 Leave a comment Filed in Government, Marketing And Media, Prevention & Tobacco

Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday voted against tight regulations for e cigarettes, according to The New York Times. The vote comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prepares to issue regulations for the devices.

The FDA was expected to issue regulations by the end of October, but they may be delayed by the partial government shutdown, the article notes.

While the European Parliament exempted e cigarettes from heavy regulation, it did impose tight restrictions on advertising and sponsorship. The devices cannot be sold legally to anyone under age 18. The legislation does not address where e cigarettes can be used.

The Parliament also banned conventional cigarettes with menthol flavoring. That measure will take effect in eight years. The legislators voted to require cigarette packs to carry health warnings in pictures and text that covers 65 percent of the packages. Currently the warnings cover 40 percent of cigarette packages.

In the United States, makers of e cigarettes are lobbying the FDA to regulate their products less strictly than traditional cigarettes. The FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and roll your own tobacco, but not e cigarettes, pipe tobacco or cigars. Under a 2009 law, the FDA can expand its authority over all tobacco products, but it must first issue new regulations. The agency could restrict how e cigarettes are marketed, where they are sold and who can purchase them.

The makers of Marlboro, Newport and Camel cigarettes have entered the e cigarette market, which is projected to approach $2 billion this year. The companies hope to avoid the type of heavy regulation currently governing the traditional cigarette market.

Last month, the attorneys general of 41 states asked the FDA to issue regulations for e cigarettes by the end of October. They said they want to ensure e cigarette companies do not continue to sell or advertise to minors.

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Tobacco additives

Next Question 7. Do additives make tobacco more attractive?

Additives can make smoke look more attractive for other people as well as the smoker and reduce lingering odours, as well as mask the smell of smoke. They can make it easier to start smoking by making the smoke, cooler, sweeter, and less harsh to the throat. Harshness can be altered by changing the ratio of nicotine to tar, and also by adding flavourings which give the impression a particular cigarette brand is smooth .

It is very difficult to identify the role of individual substances in enhancing attractiveness. There is most information about menthol, used in cigarette brands which are popular in the USA. Menthol reduces harshness and may encourage deeper inhalation of smoke. In the USA a much higher proportion of African Americans than European Americans smoke mentholated cigarettes.

The available data do not allow drawing any conclusion on the overall effect of additives on the use of tobacco products. The prevalence of smoking (i.e. the number of smokers) is stable or in decline in most EU Member States. 2006 figures indicate that 27.5 per cent of adults smoked in the EU 33.2 per cent of men and 21.8 per cent of women roughly the same levels as in 2002. Smoking is more common, on average in Eastern European Member States.

Flavourings may be used to target young people, and there is evidence that younger smokers are more likely to use flavoured cigarettes. However, UK data suggest that brand preferences of child and adult smokers are quite similar. There are also indications in the UK market, which is dominated by domestic brands, that cigarettes marketed as additive free may become popular.