‘World has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use’ – SW MEP - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
‘World has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use’ – SW MEP

Saturday, 13 July 2013
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling has labelled a committee vote in the European Parliament this week to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices as “crazy” adding that the “world has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use”.

The vote in the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health (ENVI) Committee was intended to primarily look at ways of making tobacco smoking less attractive to young people through methods such as mandatory warnings, minimum pack sizes and rules on flavourings.

However, according to Mrs Girling, the revision of the ‘Tobacco Products Directive’ would classify most electronic cigarettes as medicinal products, despite the fact that in the UK alone 25 percent of all quit attempts were made using e-cigarettes, making them the most popular quit aid.

Today's [Wednesday] vote classifying them as medical devices will mean they must undergo a costly and protracted authorisation processes. As many of the producers of e-cigarettes are small start-up businesses, such a process could push many out of business and reduce choice for e-cigarette users.

Mrs Girling, who took part in the vote since she is a member of the ENVI Committee, supported an amendment tabled by her European Conservatives and Reformists group that would see e-cigarettes authorised in a similar way to other nicotine products.

It‘s crazy to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices,she said. “Thousands of people have given up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes. For the EU to over regulate them is completely counter-productive and hypocritical. The world has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use.

Today it is believed 1.3 million people in the UK alone now use electronic cigarettes, compared to nine million tobacco smokers).

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