Europe’s law on e-cigarettes sets global benchmark – health – 27 february 2014 – new scientist

Legislation governing the sale of electronic cigarettes was approved yesterday by the European Parliament, which voted in the draft rules by 500 to 63, with 60 abstentions.

The move could set a precedent for legislation in other parts of the world where e cigarettes are still unregulated, especially in the US where guidance from the Food and Drug Administration is expected soon.

The European legislation allows shops to continue selling e cigarettes as consumer products to Europe’s estimated 10 million e cigarette smokers, or “vapers”, rather than having them be regulated as medicines as proposed in an earlier draft of the law.

But the final draft, which now just needs to be approved by member states, does impose strict conditions on how e cigarettes can be formulated, advertised and sold.

From mid 2016, when the legislation comes into force, all advertising will be banned in the 28 European Union countries. E cigarette packaging will have to include modest written health warnings, that “nicotine is addictive and could be harmful”, though there is scant evidence so far of ill effects from the products.

The nicotine in e cigarettes will also be restricted to 20 milligrams per millilitre of propylene glycol, a strength that scientists say is too weak for the 30 per cent of vapers who prefer higher concentrations. In a letter of complaint last month to the regulators, scientists said that this might deter heavy smokers from switching to e cigarettes and pointed out that concentrations containing 50 milligrams would more closely match the typical intake from real cigarettes.

Many backers of e cigarettes say they present the best opportunity yet for helping heavy smokers quit or cut down. “The directive in its current form will cause more harm to health than it prevents,” says Clive Bates, former head of the anti smoking group ASH, and a leading campaigner for e cigarettes. “It will place unjustified restrictions on an industry that could present an important alternative to the 28 per cent of European adults who smoke tobacco,” he says.

Packets of ten cigarettes and menthol flavours banned under new eu rules – telegraph

Packets of ten cigarettes will be banned in the UK by 2016 after the European Parliament voted in favour of tough new anti smoking rules governing the tobacco market.

The raft of new measures also include the introduction of mandatory picture and text health warnings covering about two thirds of cigarette packs in an effort to reduce the number of smokers by 2.4 million.

There will also be a ban on flavoured cigarettes such as menthol varieties.

Politicians voted for the larger warning labels, with the inclusion of graphic pictures such as cancer infested lungs and tighter regulation of e cigarettes.

Health advocates welcome the legislation as a milestone in helping to reduce the number of smokers in the 28 nation bloc, while the tobacco industry condemns it as a burdensome regulation stymieing a legal industry, which is heavily taxed.

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The legislation will take effect in 2016 following what is expected to be a rubber stamp approval procedure by EU governments next month.

Pro smoking groups have criticised a “nanny state mentality”, but cancer charities have backed the measures.

The new rules to be introduced across the European Union include

&bull picture warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of every packet of cigarettes, with additional warnings on the top of the pack

&bull a ban on “lipstick style” packs aimed at women all packs must have at least 20 cigarettes to leave room for health warnings

&bull roll your own tobacco packs to have similar picture warnings

&bull a ban on promotional elements, such saying “this product is free of additives” or is less harmful than other brands

&bull a ban on flavoured cigarettes, such as menthol, fruit and vanilla

&bull a maximum nicotine concentration level for e cigarettes.

&bull EU wide tracking of cigarettes to combat illegal trade

Ministers are expected to endorse the rules in March, to come into force in May 2014. Member states will have two years to introduce the legislation.

The European Commission says the new rules will “deter young people from experimenting with, and becoming addicted to, tobacco” and should lead to a 2% drop in the amount smoked over the next five years.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said “Today is a great day for EU health policy.

Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control ”

“The new rules will help to reduce the number of people who start smoking in the EU.

“These measures put an end to products which entice children and teenagers into starting to smoke in the European Union.”

However, the director of the pro smoking campaign group Forest, Simon Clark said banning menthol cigarettes was a ban on consumer choice that “will do little” to deter children from smoking.

He also questioned the need for plain packaging legislation to remove any branding from packs, which is being considered in some EU countries, including the UK.