LONDON (BUSINESS WIRE) Tobacco cigarettes kill 700,000 people every year in the EU. E cigarettes have the potential to disrupt the business model of the established tobacco industry. However, rather than encouraging this, MEPs on the European Parliament s Environment Committee have today voted to have e cigarettes regulated as a medicinal products, a move that the Parliament s own Legal Affairs Committee said, constitutes a ban.

E cigarettes can only be considered medicinal if they directly treat a disease. E cigarettes do not do this they simply deliver clean nicotine without the tar, carbon monoxide, and volatile hot gases of cigarettes. For people who switch from cigarettes, they hugely reduce risk, while satisfying the need for nicotine and some of the behavioural aspects of smoking.

Far from helping those smokers who want to switch, medicines regulation will add costs, impose burdens, apply restrictions, and hold back innovation. It may result in many smaller and more innovative producers of electronic cigarettes going out of business. Medicines regulation creates a default prohibition and requirement for approval, leaving tobacco cigarettes as the only easily marketed source of nicotine.

Speaking after the announcement, Fraser Cropper, Chief Executive Officer of Totally Wicked said

Do policy makers really want to protect an industry that kills 700,000 people at the expense of a market based, consumer led public health revolution that has the potential to save millions of lives? Let us not hide from the stark facts, because that is exactly what they have done today. If today s vote had truly been about public health then MEPs would have voted to ban tobacco cigarettes.

If policy makers are unwilling to ban tobacco cigarettes then they have a moral obligation to ensure that any regulatory regime they introduce to regulate e cigarettes, a recognised safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, continues to allow them to be sold freely and in a way that is attractive to existing tobacco cigarette smokers. Today MEPs shirked their moral responsibility. Those MEPs that have failed their constituents by supporting fallaciously misrepresented facts, knowingly purveyed to drive through this obvious ends driven regulation, must now take full accountability for their actions.

The question must be asked Why do policy makers want to intervene to prevent or obstruct a smoker having access to products that could potentially save his or her life? Every barrier placed in the way of e cigarettes has significant health consequences. Shame on them.



Notes to Editor

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Breaking news: eu votes to ban ecigs, keep tobacco cigarettes legal and keep collecting tobacco taxes

Top duty free

If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It s a massive potential public health prize.

Professor John Britton, chair of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians Source BBC

Unfortunately, the EU chose not to listen to Professor John Britton, or their own legal committee which advised that EU plans were illegal, and voted today to make electronic cigarettes a medicine while allowing cigarettes to be freely sold.

(Above, balloons being burst to signify the lives lost if a ban goes ahead. Taken from Dick Puddlecote’s account of his trip to Brussels to protest against the ban.)

Let’s recap

  • electronic cigarettes, which could save five million British lives, will be restricted and regulated as a medicine
  • the technology to comply with medical regulations doesn’t exist, although one company spent two years and millions of dollars trying to comply
  • if a product can be created which complies, it will probably be a disposable type with a single flavour (each flavour will require a separate licence, which could cost over a million pound each, and will have to be renewed yearly)
  • tobacco cigarettes, which scientists estimate kill between one third and half of all users, will continue to be freely available

Chris Davies, who with Rebecca Taylor and many other British MEPs had campaigned hard against the legislation, tweeted

The Fight Goes On

Let’s not forget that the EU’s own legal opinion is that this legislation is illegal.

The EU legal committee voted against the legislation for that reason, and Sir Francis Jacob QC, former Advocate General to the European Court of Justice describes the proposed ban on e cigs as

an unreasonable measure which is liable to be annulled as being contrary to the principle of proportionality and/or the principle of non discrimination.

So the fight goes on!

Also see EU Committee Moves Forward to Medicinalize eCigarettes