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Yorkshire MEPs Campaign Against Plans to Make it Harder to Buy E-Cigarettes


2:28pm 14th May 2013

UKIP and Lib Dem MEPs are trying to stop EU laws which could make e-cigarettes more difficult to buy than tobacco.

Lib Dem Rebecca Taylor and UKIP Godfrey Bloom want changes to the laws being examined by the European Parliament in order to regulate e-cigarettes appropriately, but not as medicines as the draft new laws proposed. 

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs as they are commonly known are electronic devices using a liquid solution containing nicotine enabling the user to inhale nicotine vapour, which many users call "vaping". While e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they do not contain the cancer causing substances found in tobacco and are almost exclusively used by former smokers as a less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco. Many in the public health community see them as a harm reduction tool. 

The initial proposal from the European Commission would have seen e-cigs regulated as medicines like nicotine gum or patches.  This caused considerable alarm amongst e-cig users, fearful this would regulate e-cigs out of existence and push them back to tobacco.

Rebecca Taylor said,

“I was concerned that regulating e-cigs as medicines could lead to them being less available than tobacco. This would not be a positive move in public health terms nor for the health of those ex-smokers who have switched to e-cigs and stopped using tobacco. I have been contacted by many Yorkshire residents who have said it was because of e-cigs that they were able to stop smoking – any moves to limit their availability would be a step backwards.”

Godfrey Bloom said:

“These e-cigarettes are designed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes and many smokers have found this product acceptable as it delivers the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette without containing tobacco, smoke, tar or the 4 000 toxins found in tobacco smoke."

“But this apparently successful ersatz of cigarette is threatened by a new piece of EU legislation and more specifically the Chapter V Article 18 of the European Products Directive and electronic cigarettes,”

"This new piece of legislation made in Brussels is so counterproductive and illogical one must ask oneself the question, who is really behind it?"

"In fact,  I would even go further by adding you'd really have to be extremely naive not to understand their game. I know the EU technocrats have a liking in telling us how to live our lives but this case is more pernicious, it is about money and money only."

“By demanding that e-cigs be authorised as medicinal products, it means that the market will be literally taken over by the pharmaceutical industry as the small companies selling the product will be prevented from competing through lack of human resources or money."

"Think about it, these e-cigs are in direct competition with nicotine patches or even anti-depressants. They are seriously threatening their business, aren't they?"

The directive is currently being discussed in various committees at the moment and is expected to be voted on in plenary session of the EU in September this year.

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