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Europe on collision course over e-cigarette legislation

Europe’s Parliament today voted to toughen up the European Union’s regulations on tobacco products, but pulled back from plans to regulate electronic cigarettes as medical products, setting themselves on a collision course with the European Council.

Parliament was voting on a new ‘tobacco products directive’ which will regulate cigarettes in all European Union countries. The draft passed by parliament will see fruit and menthol flavoured cigarettes phased out and increase the size of health warnings on packets from 30% of the front and 40% of the back to 65% on both.

The proposals would also see electronic cigarettes regulated as medical products only when they make health claims, and if they do not, they would generally be regarded as tobacco products. In contrast, the European Commission and Council, made up of the leaders of the union’s 28 member states, want these products to be controlled under medical regulations.

“The proposition to regulate them as tobacco products won with a majority. That’s probably the biggest difference with Council now,” said Linda McAvan, parliament’s rapporteur for the legislation, in a press conference.

She insisted that the European Parliament was still committed to regulating e-cigarettes, the control of which is currently a grey area (see: Regulation stacks up for e-cigarettes). McAvan hopes to have agreement with the Council by Christmas.

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    Gilbert Ross said:

    After an anxious year-plus, contemplating the havoc that would be wreaked upon the EU’s millions of smokers trying to quit, and ex-smokers now vaping, by the accursed “Tobacco Products Directive” draft, we devotees of public health emitted in unison a “whew, thank heavens common sense prevailed amongst the MEPs.” Now you posit a “collision course” between the forces of sound science and humane approach to regulation (the EP), and the forces of ignorance and greed and mindless agenda in the EC? God forbid that this flexibility for e-cigarette regulation is reversed by “powers that be”, ignoring the vox populi of the vaping community. Isn’t the EU all about participation? Who the hell voted or petitioned for tight e-cig regulation, one wonders? Glaxo? Pfizer? The US CDC? Vapers unite! Gil Ross MD ACSH.org and Facebook’s “HelpingAddictedSmokers.”

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