Electronic cigarettes could be banned

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The European Union may be poised to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, it has been reported.

According to a leaked draft published by Tobacco Journal International, the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive contains a recommended ban on the marketing of all smokeless nicotine-containing products, with the one exception of Swedish snus, unless they are authorised as medicinal products on the basis of their quality, safety and efficacy.

The Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) said it had been “greatly alarmed” by the reports, and urged the European Commission to urgently confirm or deny the veracity of the leaked documents.

In a letter to the European Commission, ECITA president Katherine Devlin said: “As we understand it, the Commission will now have completed the Impact Assessment for this consultation process. This will no doubt have indicated the significant economic growth of the electronic cigarette industry, and your own Eurobarometer survey clearly demonstrates how significant the positive impact on public health could be, if electronic cigarettes remain widely available to smokers.

“It is crucial that the proper regulatory standards are in place, but this cannot be achieved through medicinal regulation. The costs are too high, and the restrictions on the flexibility and appeal of the product are too great, so all the considerable public health benefit potential would be lost.”

Imperial Tobacco, which recently bought into a third-party electronic cigarette business last month, said it was aware that a working version of the EU Tobacco Products Directive proposals had been leaked. “We are expecting the final, formal proposals to be published by the end of the year and we will be in a better position to comment at that time,” a spokeswoman said.

Readers' comments (7)

  • There is not going to be an EU ban on e-cigs, in fact the leaked document is an unfinished working document that contains ideas for updating the Tobacco Products Directive.

    No-one who is suggesting that there could be a ban on e-cigs has actually seen the document. Is has been seen by a German Newspaper who reported on it, but that report (when translated correctly) contained no mention of e-cigs.

    The UK government actually supports e-cigs as a form of Tobacco Harm Reduction.

    Don't panic, everyone, there is not going to be a ban.

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  • This 'leaking' might be a way for the pharma industry to create a doubt, preventing ecig sales... until a (pharma) approved version is on the market. Thus maintain a kind of monopoly on nicotine sales.

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  • Both tobacco and Big Pharma have many reasons to leak unfounded rumours.
    Our cigarettes abide by all rules such as RoHS, CE, Age Restriction, Health Warnings, Recycling, etc. and the vapours are independently tested to ensure that they contain NO harmful substances.
    The EU would have no grounds to ban anything that has been tested to the level that the leading e-Cigarettes, such as elan, have been tested.

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  • I don't see anything wrong with banning e-cigs until they have been properly studied and regulatory standards enacted. We've already seen what happens when a toxic product is allowed unfettered marketing and sales. Do we really need to learn this lesson again?

    I think e-cigs show great promise, but they need to be studied and regulated *before* they are unleashed on the public.

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  • Lis, you are repeating some of the common myths about e-cigs.
    They have been studied (at length) - we DO know what is in them
    Much of the liquid that is used is actually made in the UK.
    The big myth is that they are 'unregulated' - below is a list of the regulations that apply to e-cigs:
    CHIP REGULATIONS
    PLUGS AND SOCKETS REGULATIONS
    WEIGHTS AND MEASURES REGULATIONS
    DISTANCE SELLING REGULATIONS
    ONLINE PRIVACY REGULATIONS
    IMPORTING GOODS REGULATIONS
    WASTE BATTERIES REGULATIONS
    PLACING BATTERIES ON THE MARKET REGULATIONS
    WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT REGULATIONS

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  • It always shocks me how many tactics any marketing team of any product can adopt without any regards for the health of the people.
    I do not consider that harms reduction through e- cigs is a strategy to be recommended.
    While EU may still ban its use, I think of developing countries where there is hardly any effective regulating body.
    Hence, any process that makes any one addicted to the nicotine must not be supported.

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  • Rakesh,

    Do you think people in developing countries are going to spend 50 quid on an e-cig starter kit if they don't even smoke and therefore become addicted to nicotine?

    I don't.

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