On October 8th in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament passed a draft law that the World Health Organization and EU health officials described as a landmark ruling. Among stricter regulations towards tobacco products and advertising, it was the first time an elected government institution made sweeping regulations on e cigarettes.

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. (EP News)

Like any legislative vote, its passing created a range of opinions by MEPs on the success and failure of such a law. On one hand, approval of the new measures was particularly welcomed by European health commissioner Tonio Borg I welcome the positive vote in today s European Parliament EU citizens expect all of us to act on tobacco and to adopt in the near future a new legislation which will put the EU on the frontline on a global stage.

MEP Chris Davies agreed with Borg s view of the draft law E cigs can be a game changer. Hundreds of former smokers have written to tell me that they have helped them give up cigarettes when nothing else worked. They are successful because they are not medicines but products that smokers enjoy using as an alternative to cigarettes.

On the other hand, not every country within the EU sees the revision of the Tobacco Products proposal as a step forward. Anti smoking lawmakers hoped to diminish the availability of e cigarettes by repositioning them as a medicinal device. Co chair of the public health committee and Swedish MEP, Carl Schlyter, is one of those who view the amendment differently. This is a shameful day for the European Parliament as a centre right majority has done the bidding of the tobacco industry and voted for weaker rules, which are totally at odds with citizens interests and public health.

It s always interesting to see the difference in opinion among the array of parties voting on a draft law such as this. No different to any other debate on legislation there are those with very contrasting points of view. However, one thing that everyone can agree on is that whether this draft law was or will be a success or failure, the ultimate ruling by the European Parliament sends a strong message to the FDA who was originally scheduled to make a decision on e cigarette regulation by the end of October. This will most likely be delayed due to the U.S. government shutdown.

The amendment to the EU Tobacco Products proposal does not go into full effect until next year when another vote by MEPs may ratify the law for good.

For related coverage, check out

  • The proposed text for Amendment 170
  • BBC News
  • Reuters
  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Malta Today
  • Globe and Mail
  • CTV News
  • Toronto Star
  • National Post
  • The Parliament

Eu declared electronic cigarettes a tobacco product

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BRUSSELS, Oct. 8 It has been a long uphill battle for electronic cigarette advocates in Europe. Today the EU declared electronic cigarettes a tobacco product, opening the market to 28 European countries. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the electronic cigarette industry, proves victorious today as they managed to change the minds of those who continuously pushed for the classification as a medicinal product.

A lot has changed since the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that governed the laws and regulations of tobacco products. Ray Story, CEO of TVECA, didn t want to see electronic cigarettes painted with the same brush as a medicinal product and recognized the need for an updated and modernized revision of the TPD that included electronic cigarettes. Story further emphasises the importance that electronic cigarettes are intended to compete with traditional is exactly what TVECA sets out to do as they embark on their next hurdle building a sensical approach for regulation as a tobacco product.

Moving forward, TVECA is a resource to be utilized by the European Parliament as an information tool for the industry and other member states. The landscape of electronic cigarettes is constantly changing and TVECA is a valuable asset for communicating these adaptations on a large scale. Through compliance, science and truth, TVECA seeks to build and clearly define the classification of electronic cigarettes and where they belong as a market.

Article by Paige Koontz