There was lot of controversy, debating and “fighting” over the last few months regarding regulation of ecigs because of the decision of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) to regulate these products as medicinal only. From concerns about safety to long term effects and the targeting of young people or non-smokers, the situation was clearly confusing and everyone was waiting for the European Parliament’s decision on 8th October 2013.
In what should be considered a historical day, the European Parliament rejected the Committee’s on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety proposal to only market ecigarettes as medicinal devices. Of course, the decision does impose some regulation but without the risk of ruining the existence, evolution and accessibility of these devices.
The dynamic of ecigarette and its accessories is obvious from the hundreds of online forums, associations involved in defending the rights of vapers and advocate groups trying to educate the public about the role and benefits of the product. The ecig represents a new age of reducing the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and almost took everyone by surprise.
It was very clear that the regulators had little understanding about these devices, about the fact that there is no standardized dose and every vaper can control the amount of nicotine and the flavor he wants to receive in order to be satisfied.
Linda McAvan, member of the European Parliament and the rapporteur for the 8th October meeting said: “We have amendments here, some to have no regulation, and then amendments to have some form of regulation, and we are going to debate what kind of regulation. I hope we can have a sensible calm debate on this issue and not some of the misrepresentations we have seen in recent weeks.” as she tried to address the ecigarette issue.
The negotiations ended up being productive and a made a lot of vapers jump for joy. This is how the ecigs will be affected by the new regulations:
- Manufacturers and distributers must supply a list of all ingredients and substances contained in their products;
- If they claim to have medicinal properties (smoking cession, healthy alternative) they must be referred ass medical products and sold under these regulations;
- Devices with no claims on health or aid to smoking cessation must not contain levels of nicotine higher than 30mg/ml and manufacturers/retailers must display health warnings;
- They must comply to the same advertising regulations as tobacco products;
- They may not be sold to people under 18 years of age;
Regarding the tobacco based products, here are some of the amendments they approved:
- 65% display of graphic health warnings on the surface of each pack;
- Health warnings at the top of the pack and the brand name at the bottom;
- Non-tobacco flavors are to be banned in the following 3 years;
- Menthol products are to decrease production and to be banned in the following 8 years;
- They must only come in packs of 20;