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European Parliament Votes in Favour of Electronic Cigarettes’ Medicinal Regulation

ecigeurope

Despite widespread outcry from vapers, the European Parliament Environmental and Health Committee have voted in favour of regulating electronic cigarettes as medicinal products from 2016. The decision, made last week in Brussels, has shocked and angered many involved in the e cig industry, making them question the legitimacy of the proposed regulations and whether they will have any positive effects.

Whilst most vapers will agree that regulating electronic cigarettes to ensure that they do not contain anything harmful or present a threat would be a positive step, medicinal regulations could effectively wipe out the product that has provided a genuine alternative to cigarettes for millions of smokers throughout the European Union.

Although the products will still be available on the European marketplace without the need for a prescription, these new regulations, if passed by parliament, could soon see the market dwindle dramatically as the products will be subjected to lengthy and costly medicinal testing and trials before being approved for sale in the EU. This process could be out of the reach of many e cig manufacturers and suppliers who would be forced to cease operation completely. Whilst some of the larger brands will survive, this decreased competition could impinge on the innovation and development within the industry.

Many MEPs including the North West’s own Chris Davies oppose the proposed regulations and there is still a significant number of campaigners who believe that the decision may be reversed. The Tobacco Products Directive may still be amended to have less effect upon e cigs when the MEPs discuss the subject during the Plenary this September.

With no current restrictions placed upon the distribution of electronic cigarettes, some of the more respected brands have taken the unusual step of self-regulating.  These moral suppliers and manufacturers have acted to prohibit the sale of their products to minors and ensure that only trusted e liquid ingredients are used. The laws and regulations throughout countries in Europe are dramatically different to one another, with the likes of Denmark imposing a complete ban on electronic cigarette products.

Perversely, this decision could lead to a significant number of ex-smokers who have taken up vaping return to tobacco cigarettes if the quality of electronic cigarettes is compromised. During the same vote, an amendment to tobacco packaging and marketing was proposed, banning logos and designs, but was dismissed by the committee, to the notable dismay of the health campaigners who travelled to the directive.

24th July 2013, 9:54