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New European Directive on tobacco: no ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes

According to statistics, 700,000 Europeans die annual due to smoking of tobacco. The tobacco directive mainly aims to keep off the youth of the cigarette. The previous tobacco directive existed already over 11 years. According to the politicians it was time for a new directive and today they voted in the European Parliament by a large majority.

Euro-comissar for Health, Tonio Borg, hopes with the new directive that the number of smokers decrease by 2 percent in the next 5 years.

We go over the main points of the new directives:

  • Health warnings must capture at least 65% of the packets. This is about twice as much than the current situation. The European comission had indeed proposed 75%, but this was rejected.

  • Adding flavors such as vanilla or chocolate is prohibited. These flavors make the cigarette especially attractive to youth. Menthol temporarily escaped the ban because they can not be prohibited within 8 years. The original bill suggested a period of three years.

  • The cigarette brand can only be printed the bottom of the pack.

  • Packets should contain at least 20 cigarettes or more.

The electronic cigarette is victorious

More important for us are of course the new rules about the e-cigarette. The proposal of the European Commission threatened a ban on sale, however this was rejected. But there will be a ban on the sale to minors.

The proponents of the European Parliament agreed that ecig is a healthier alternative for smoking. The opponents of the e cigarette finally had to admit that there exist no evidence that it is a stepping stone to the ordinary tobacco cigarette. All health studies also argue in favor of the electronic cigarette.

So the hemisphere of the European Parliament treats the e-cigs provisionally as a tobacco product, so they will stay available without prescription of a doctor. There is one exception, when the manufacturer wants to sell electric cigarettes as a healing product.

Under the new directive, an e-cigarette may contain maximum 30mg/ml nicotine. The manufacturers also need to show a list of all ingredients to the national authorities.

The voting of this new directive does not mean that the law already applies tomorrow. Negotiations with all Member States are needed now. After that, all European countries need to vote their own laws.

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