Parliament Enforces New Tobacco Regulations

According to European voice, on the 26th of February, members of the EU parliament voted in favour of approving a new deal regarding tobacco regulations with member states. The new law will cover all aspects regarding the marketing and content of e-cigarettes.

Also, the new bill will require tobacco industries to include pictorial warnings on their cigarette packs, covering at least 65% of the packaging and flavours such as menthol will be made illicit. However, this change in regulation isn’t the only thing that people have been talking about in regards to the EU’s decision; electronic cigarettes have become a hot topic in the past few months leaving us wondering where we stand with the devices.

While a handful of parliament members wanted to regulate the devices in order to allow general sale, the UK government instead put forward a proposal to regulate the devices as medicines as well as ban refillable devices instead due to concerns of health effects, nicotine content and ultimate public safety.

However, feeling under pressure from several outspoken e-cigarette establishments and users who claimed that “such restrictions would kill off a valuable tool to quit smoking”, MEP’s decided against the proposal and refused the ban.

As a result, e-cigarettes will still be on general sale however, member states still have the option to regulate the gadget as a medicinal device should they choose to. Member states also have the opportunity to ban specific kinds of cartridges; only if it can be fully justified by genuine safety concerns.

In addition, if up to three member states decide to enforce a ban on a cartridge then the European Commission can ultimately implement a ban at EU-level without interference from other member states or parliament.

Member states are in full power to ban cross-border sales of tobacco-based products i.e. through online delivery and so on. Although the proposal to make slim cigarettes illegal was ultimately rejected, lipstick cigarettes are being made illicit.

As for the design of the e-cigarette, cartridge size will be indefinitely capped at around 2ml while the devices themselves will be restricted to up to 20mg/ml nicotine concentration. This is equals to around one pack of traditional cigarettes.

As mentioned before, all types of flavouring will be banned however the menthol flavour unlike the others will undergo four-year derogation and importers plus manufacturers are required to submit detailed and honest reports on the practice of these additives within a time frame of 18 months.

President of Smoke Free Partnership, Archie Turnbull, commented “Today marks a genuine turning point for European tobacco control and a huge stride towards a tobacco-free Europe. This vote will help to protect young people and children across Europe, saving many lives and helping prevent young Europeans from starting to smoke.”

However, the Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers had this to say “the measures adopted today are disproportionate and are more likely to lead to a rise in profits for criminal gangs who sell much cheaper, unregulated products.”

Michiel Reerink, the chairman of the group, said “We expect diligence to be taken in allowing realistic transition periods for member states and the industry. Due to the complexity of the numerous measures, tobacco companies, packaging manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and retailers must imperatively be given sufficient time to comply with the directive.”

What do you think about the EU’s parliament decision on the regulation of e-cigarettes?

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