Increasing support for electronic cigarettes in eu

Based on the majority of news articles that we can read on the internet, it is safe to say that electronic cigarettes are heavily attacked by their detractors. These detractors endlessly argue that ecigs are not safe, are not studied, and are not regulated. Thus, it is quite refreshing to read and hear about instances when these products are advocated, supported and promoted not only by ordinary users, but by experts and professionals.

Support For Electronic Cigarettes In Italy

Surprising, though, as it may seem to his colleagues who think that the products deserve not to be highly esteemed Italy’s past health minister, Umberto Veronesi, has actually disapproved of the approach of his government in treating ecigarettes.

According to him, these are tobacco free options that have the potential in saving about 30,000 lives per year. If all smokers of traditional cigarettes would decide to use electronic cigarettes, about 30,000 Italian lives could be saved each year and additional 500 million lives throughout the world.

Veronesi is now the scientific director in the IEO or European Institute of Oncology. This tumor specialist called upon the government to deal with serious smoking health implications. He argued that for quite a long time, the government has focused only on the economic side of cigarette trading.

He said that the debates on tobacco free cigarettes have all been focused on the market mainly on who are selling them and other obscured interests on the economic side of the products. Only few have actually expressed concerns over what is more important, which is the health of the public.

It is to be recalled that earlier in the year, there was a proposal in the legislative body to tax electronic cigarettes with 58.5% levy. He said that this proposal has, in fact, forced many producers to already abandon their ventures. Fortunately, the government scrapped this proposal.

Apart from ecig health benefits, the industry of electronic cigarettes has already provided about 5,000 jobs in the country. Many small scale entrepreneurs have also attained success from their opened shops, which by now are around 2,000 in number. If the industry was taxed, the government could have earned 35 million, but many might have lost their jobs.

Ecigs Can Improve Public Health

If the government was not too eager on the possible economic issues, it probably would not fail on seeing the products as a chance to improve the health of the public. He said that through monopoly on the cigarette packets, the state is actually earning money from the tragedy being brought upon by cigarette smoking.

The government prefers this instead of fighting for what are better options since scientific research is readily at the disposal of those in position. It is the moral duty of the government to research on these electronic cigarettes and Veronesi stated that he intends to discuss it with Beatrice Lorenzin, the Health Minister.

Support From French Doctors

During the early part of October, the European Parliament has decided to reject the proposal to treat electronic cigarettes as drugs. If this was approved, the products would have been very limited and restricted that users could have been forced to simply smoke cigarettes again.

This decision was described as wise by the French doctor who led a group of other doctors in supporting the ecigs.

The EU Parliament decided that the products will not be sold to minors and ecig advertising would also not be allowed.

The group of 10 French doctors was led by Dr. Philippe Presles and said that this is a good decision. Presles is a tobacco specialist from the Insitiut Moncey.

He said that this decision made it possible for research and studies to be continuously performed to make ecigarettes and e liquids better products. He and his colleagues believe that ecigs have demonstrated great potentials in helping people to quit smoking.

He said that if debates and doubts on whether ecig ingredients are safe or not persist, these allegations must be opposed by the presentation of definitely and confirmed risks from using tobacco cigarettes.

New eu tobacco directive 2013 vs. e-cigarettes

The new tobacco directive 2013 2014 seeks to regulate products that look and taste like tobacco with the aim of discouraging young people from taking up smoking in the first place.

But disagreement over e cigarettes threatened to derail the talks between the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers, concluded on 16, Monday 2013 evening.

The compromise stipulates that e cigarettes will be considered like regular tobacco products if they contain nicotine in a concentration of 20 mg/ml or less.

In actual fact only Ecigarettes of 20mg/ml and below will be allowed on the market and will be treated like tobacco but with more severe restraints on the ability to speak about them. In actual fact the proposal directly denies the freedom of speech on them in as much as all forms of communication whether public or private, industry led or consumer led will be prohibited by law if it speaks favourably about them.

However, individual member states can regulate e cigarettes as medicines, if they are presented as having curative or preventive properties.

Refillable e cigarettes will not be banned, but member states can ban specific types of cartridges for e cigarettes, if they can justify the ban by safety concerns.

Furthermore, if at least three member states adopt a ban on a specific cartridge, the European Commission will be able to impose an EU wide ban unilaterally, without seeking approval by Parliament or the member states.

The new directive also includes a ban on ‘flavoured’ cigarettes, like those containing menthol, and requests manufacturers to display large health warnings picture and text covering 65% of the front and the back of packages.

The compromise still has to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament.

Member States shall ensure that

a) commercial communications with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and refill containers are prohibited in information society services as defined in Article 1(2) of Directive 98/48/EC, in the press and other printed publications, with the exception of publications that are intended exclusively for professionals in the trade of the products and for publications which are printed and published in third countries, where those publications are not principally intended for the European Union market

b) commercial communications with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and refill containers are prohibited in the radio

c) any form of public or private contribution to radio programmes with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and refill containers is prohibited

d) any form of public or private contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and refill containers and involving or taking place in several Member States or otherwise having cross border effects is prohibited

e) audiovisual commercial communications falling under Directive 2010/13/EU are prohibited for electronic cigarettes and refill containers

f) cross border distance sales of electronic cigarettes and refill containers are regulated in accordance with Article 16.


EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said the agreement on e cigarettes will put in place

«clear safety and quality standards for a growing sector of the market»

, and promised the the Commission will

«closely monitor developments and trends in this emerging market».

Fran oise Grosset te, a French centre right MEP (European People’s Party), said she was «disappointed» by the agreement on e cigarettes.

«I am disappointed because we had a valuable opportunity to align their status and it is clear that the agreement refuses to settle the issue,»

she said in a statement.

«The ball is back in the camp of the Member States who will be able to continue assimilating e cigarettes to a medicine while others will continue to consider them as a tobacco product. It would have been useful to agree to harmonise e cigarettes across the EU with clear rules. Today’s agreement leaves the door open to diverging national legislation and does not provide legal certainty.»

«Replacing traditional cigarettes with electronic cigarettes represents a benefit to health. However, the e cigarette should be better regulated, as demanded by the European Parliament.»


  • March 2014 Final Parliament vote
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