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EU regulation of e-cigarettes a step closer

A vote today on the EU tobacco control directive was passed by MEPs on the Public Health Committee.

A person smokes an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette.
A person smokes an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette.
Image: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

REGULATION OF ELECTRONIC cigarettes and a ban on ‘slim’ cigarettes could be on the way following a vote by MEPs today.

Nessa Childers MEP said there had been a strong vote today in her Public Health Committee on the EU tobacco control directive, “despite the massive industry lobbying against the law”.

“As co-chair of the ‘MEPs against Cancer’ forum in the European Parliament, I have campaigned and pressed for this anti-tobacco legislation for a long time,” she said.

I am delighted that today we voted against the massive negative industry lobbying campaign which tried to try to delay, block and defeat this legislation.

The vote today called for pictorial health warnings covering 75 per cent of a cigarette package, front and back, as mandatory in the EU.

The MEPs also voted to regulate e-cigarettes, which Childers said “need sensible regulation”, as well as a ban on slim cigarettes.

The proposals will go to a plenary vote and if they pass this, will go on to negotiations with member states of the council.  A spokesperson for Childers said they were “pretty confident” the parliament vote will be strong on the proposals, but that the battle is against the member states.

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The hope is that the changes, if they are approved, would come into effect between 2015 and 2016. However, this depends on whether the council and parliament can come to an agreement on the proposals before the end of the life of the current parliament.

The new EU Tobacco Products Directive, under which these proposals come, will replace the rules that were put in place in 2001.

They look at regulating products which do not contain tobacco but which are closely linked to smoking, such as electronic cigarettes and herbal cigarettes, as well as labelling and packaging of tobacco products, additives, internet sales and tracking and tracing of these products.

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